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Music Review: Jim James delivers rocking 'Uniform Distortion'

This cover image released by ATO Records shows "Uniform Distortion," the latest release by Jim James. (ATO Records via AP)

(AP) -- Jim James, "Uniform Distortion" (ATO Records)

    My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James offers his musings on love, life and the hazards of our social media-driven modern world on his fourth solo record, the rocking "Uniform Distortion."

    With driving guitar riffs and catchy hooks combined with his signature soaring vocals, James delivers an utterly engaging, hard-charging, straight-ahead record that almost feels like a throwback to a different era while also being very much current.

    Or, as he sings on "Out of Time": "I'm either behind the times or ahead of the times or maybe I'm just out of time, out of luck."

    It's hard not to get sucked in.

    Who can't relate to the first single, "Just a Fool," when James sings, "Just a fool getting by/Just a fool doing all right."

    On "Throwback," James mixes nostalgia for a world before we were all connected, whether we like it or not, through our social media accounts.

    "Scroll back in time through your account/Watch your face grow younger as real time runs out/Throwback Thursday to the way that it was/When we were young," he sings.

    The record's title, "Uniform Distortion," couples perfectly with the cover image taken from a 1971 "Whole Earth Catalog" showing a person hidden behind what appears to be a blinding light. Considered together with the music, it sends the message that all of us, and everything around us, is distorted.

    The question James grapples with, and that listeners are left to ponder, is what are we going to do about it?

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