On May 27th, ATO Records reissued It Still Moves, the third full-length album by psychedelic rock band My Morning Jacket. The release was in the form of a two-disc deluxe edition, with the first disc featuring a new mix of the original album, and the second featuring three tracks cut from the LP’s initial release along with ten bedroom demos of the album’s songs recorded by frontman Jim James.
It Still Moves marked the end of the initial chapter of My Morning Jacket’s career. Between 1998 and 2004 the band gained recognition for a trio of indie-southern-rock albums that charted their rise from relative obscurity into a deal with Dave Matthews’s ATO Records. Chiefly a guitar-rock album, It Still Moves is the heaviest of the band’s early works, and the last My Morning Jacket record to feature the distinctive reverb-saturated lead vocals which Jim James originated while recording lyrics in an empty Kentucky grain silo. With a MetaCritic score of 83, It Still Moves is one of My Morning Jacket’s most broadly acclaimed releases, and its lead single, “Run Thru,” was ranked by Rolling Stone as among the “100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time.”
The album came during a period of transition for the band. Released in 2003, it was the first album to feature drummer Patrick Hallahan behind the kit, and the last album with Johnny Quaid on guitar and Danny Cash on keyboards. After the release of It Still Moves, the band would take a psychedelic turn while working with producer John Leckie on 2005’s Z, a release which launched them onto the stylistic trajectory they follow today and also the first record to feature the lineup which has persisted over 10 years to this day.
Lengthiness remains the chief flaw of It Still Moves, which runs for over seventy-one minutes in the course of twelve tracks. Any fans who are looking for even more of the sound of It Still Moves will likely enjoy the three finished tracks which open disc two. Of particular note is the groovy flamenco-ish “En La Ceremony,” on which current My Morning Jacket guitarist Carl Broemel overdubbed a newly recorded classical guitar track, delivering what may be the finest guitar performance on the album. Among the ten demos that follow, half are complementary additions to the release — “Golden” and “I Will Sing You Songs” in particular are very nice — while the other half fail to stand out.
This reissue is essential listening due to the excellent remixing of the original It Still Moves material done by Kevin Ratterman (who served as recording engineer on the The Waterfall, My Morning Jacket’s seventh studio effort), with the intention, as Jim James jokes in an interview with the New York Times, of sonically, “Removing the wet blanket that was lying on top of the speakers.” Indeed, the album sounds more full and colorful across the board, with every element of the music more articulated than it previously was. The difference is striking enough that any fan of It Still Moves will want to own the album as it is in this release.
Pick up the It Still Moves deluxe reissue on Amazon.
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