“I just want it to be weird,” Jim James told MAGNET last summer, when his still-gestating Evil Urges barely registered as a nefarious inclination. By that standard alone, My Morning Jacket’s fifth LP has one outright success: “Weird” is definitely the word to describe the industrial-funk “Highly Suspicious,” the album’s third song and even-money lightning rod. Any MMJ fans wondering when James would give in and embrace his inner Divine will thrill at the track’s over-the-top nitrous-oxide giggles and breathy, orgasmic squeals; for the Kentucky band’s legions of Bonnaroo-lording, Skynyrd-loving beardo diehards, it may be akin to FBI lifers finding out J. Edgar Hoover liked wearing dresses on the weekends. That said, the weirdest thing here is that nothing else is remotely weird; it’s actually a far milder affair than the musical-genre Cuisinart of 2005’s Z. The evilest urges James has are to spin some bald Eagles soft rock on “Thank You Too” and sex up a bookworm on the Donovan-esque “Librarian.” There’s Prince-ly panting here and a little Lenny Kravitz crooning there, but the straight-ahead rock and country numbers (“Remnants,” “Sec Walkin’”) fare better. “Touch Me I’m Going To Scream Part 2” has James remixing the album’s bland second track into an eight-minute, beat-based electro dream. Forget Evil Urges entirely; call this one Zzz. []

—Noah Bonaparte Pais

2 replies on “MY MORNING JACKET: Evil Urges [ATO]”

[…] But even Jim James and the Jacket are just as prone as anyone else to writing a lousy song. And on their 2008 album Evil Urges, they unleashed a beast that’s left me shaking my head and reaching for the skip button ever since. Pitchfork called it “eye-poppingly annoying.” Magnet magazine compared the experience of listening to this song to “FBI lifers finding out J. Edgar Hoover liked wearing dresses on the weekends.” […]

I agree–the straightforward rock songs are more compelling than the “experimental” ones on this album.

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