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Published: 2016/09/09
by Ryan Reed

My Morning Jacket
It Still Moves (Deluxe Reissue)

My Morning Jacket’s first two albums teased their Southern psych-rock greatness, but the Kentucky warriors realized their true identity with 2003’s It Still Moves. Jim James’ powerhouse voice—smothered in grain silo reverb, building from stoned coo to pained roar—developed into an instrument of singular yearning, and the revved-up engine of new drummer Patrick Hallahan propelled the songs to dynamic new heights. Despite the creative leap, James was never satisfied with the album’s original, muddled mix, which they finished under the pressure of looming tour dates. Thirteen years later, iconic engineer Bob Ludwig has remixed and remastered the classic LP, offering vast and instantly noticeable improvements. While the band’s trademark reverb remains intact, Ludwig adds depth and clarity to every instrument—check the boosted electric guitars on “Mahgeetah” and “Dancefloors” or the extra thump to Tom Blankenship’s bass on barnburner “One Big Holiday.” While It Still Moves’ ghostly atmosphere became an essential part of the album’s initial mystery, this new mix feels more vital and immediate, offering an attack that better resembles the band’s walloping live show. A second disc of unreleased tracks and intimate demos fills out a more complete picture of the sessions. It’s hard to believe twangy “That’s Too Bad” and lush “En La Ceremony”—fleshed out with new overdubs from current members Carl Broemel and Bo Koster—have been collecting hard drive dust all these years. Over a decade after It Still Moves, My Morning Jacket have evolved into a multifaceted sonic beast, but they’ve arguably never sounded more themselves than they do here.

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