This Louisville quintets fourth and finest album is a defining moment for both the band and indie-rock. Shoegazers take notice: Jim James & Co. have created a masterpiece (which should see them escaping jam-band affiliations) that services its songs; this eclectic and fearless 10-song gem moves seamlessly from one feel to another. Compared to past efforts, its stripped-down always showcasing James voice while never ignoring the importance of hook-filled accompaniment. Its a beautiful balance of radio sensibility from years ago and, dare we say, years to come. The production shared by Jim James and pop knobsman John Leckie (Radiohead, XTC, Posies) works like an English dream. References abound young Elton to the Who, Grandaddy to Pink Floyd, even the bittersweet delicacy of early 70s songsmiths Bread. On the rocking Anytime, James asks, Is this climbing up to the moon?/Or is it bailing out too soon?/I hope we didnt wait too long ... No, Jim, its not too soon. Its right on time. Well look for you up there in the Sea of Tranquility.
Robin Johnson writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.