Following the release of their fourth critically acclaimed full-length album, Z, My Morning Jacket readies to deliver what is surely to become their quintessential body of work - two discs and a concert film. They contain their most dynamic, otherworldly compositions to date, presented in their finest form. Live. Okonokos is a creative concept conceived by Jim James, and it is as much a question as it is an answer. It is an enigma wrapped around a riddle. Okonokos is whatever you want it to be.
Immaculately prolific and blatantly ambitious, My Morning Jacket celebrate eight years as a recording band with what many refer to as a death knell: the double live album. Yet it takes but a single listen to declare that the brass neck and bravado pays off for this Kentucky band of longhairs, which released the 21-song epic as a companion piece to their concert DVD. Songwriter and singer Jim James's howling falsetto ricochets through MMJ's backlog of songs, which have been reenergized for the stage by the band's airtight live-show mettle. Dusting off remnants of the first two records like "I Think I'm Going to Hell" and the stunning "The Way That He Sings," then lining them up with the more contemporary "Gideon" and "What a Wonderful Man," MMJ never take their foot off the gas. In fact, rather than getting bogged down in concert-album fashion, Okonokos
plays spanking new, almost re-studio recorded. And that means it works both ways: as the next volume in a series for those familiar with My Morning Jacket, or as a compendium primer for a band that never lets up and is always willing to circumvent the rules. --Scott Holter