This album is a companion piece to Jim James' 2018 album, 'Uniform Distortion' in that it comprises acoustic versions of the exact same songs together with a couple of bonus tracks: It Will Work Out and Flash in The Pan.
Instead of the scuzzy rawness of the distortion record, the focus is on lightness, truth and a striving towards "complete clarity to the universe".
James is being a little ironic with the latter ambition but, then again, there's evidently a serious intention behind the project. For instance, he strongly believes in the importance of voting and political action to combat the increase in hatred and polarity of viewpoints in America right now. "I want to be part of the united energy" he commented in a recent online interview in San Francisco to promote the album's release. Staying open and showing kindness are the recurring messages.
In terms of the stripped down style of the record, he pays homage to the early days of recording when there were no ways to manipulate the sound in the studio.
Working with producer/engineer Shawn Everett, there are just vocals, guitar and the space itself. The first take quality means you can really feel the urgency behind the tunes.
On Throwback he sings, half apologetically "Stop me if you've heard this one before". Well, yes we have, but some things bear repeating and this is one of them.
Singing truth to power, free from distortion, has no sell by date.
Jim James' website