Carl Broemel will be better known to you as part of My Morning Jacket, but here he shows us what he can do on his own. 4th of July was recorded in bits and pieces over the course of four years, meaning that it gives us little insights into life as it is lived, via the means of intimate country-influenced song. 4th of July is released by Stocks in Asia.
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A new album from Not Jim James! Also known as Carl Broemel, his duties for My Morning Jacket are mostly guitar but extend to some saxophone duties, and I think that’s pretty cool, man. He’s sorta doing the chill thing here on ‘4th of July’, creating a record of lounging cosmics with the thorough acoustics of his parent band and plenty of big, bold arrangement. This isn’t your standard solo record though -- as is inevitable, our Jacketeer jams.
“4th of July” is probably more ambitious than the overtly ambitious MMJ of late, bowling over its ten minute runtime with a mix of bombastic radio rock and sage folk picking sections before going all in on a medley of super strenuous and wonderfully plaintive solos -- amidst the odd passage of humming and cooing. It’s all over the place but never seems to need to announce itself, soaking in its weirdness as long as it likes.
Broemel’s folkier inclinations are traditionally pronounced, with the countrified “Rockingchair Dancer” sounding indebted to contributions from case / lang / viers, given a spacey production job to stretch out in as the acoustic guitar gets picked as if it were doing loop de loops. “Snowflake” melds this sound with the sparklier cosmic Americanisms of My Morning Jacket, further showing how this band, with their synths, spacey guitar pedals and bold climaxes, have managed to retain the essence of folk rock. And there’s whistling, so yeah.
Like most MMJ affiliated records this one is full of twists in the tale and turns of twang (nicely employed on “In the Dark”), so getting through it all without spilling a mess of words onto the page is something of an impossibility. At the same time, this record largely feels like it comes from an artist in their element, relaxed for the most part and poised for the big hitters.
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