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My Morning Jacket

Badman Recording Co.

You know what’s wrong with this country? Too much freedom. People think they can do whatever the hell they want. Take alt-country band My Morning Jacket, which has followed up its critically acclaimed 2001 release, At Dawn, with the Chocolate and Ice EP. Fans will buy it in hopes of more of the same. Pity these poor suckers, for they are fucked. I know, because I was first in line. I don’t want to venture a guess as to what transpired at the Chocolate and Ice sessions, but I do know a crime was committed. That crime is the 24-minute “Cobra,” alt-country’s very own Metal Machine Music. An unholy marriage of “Miss You”-era disco and Alan Parsons Project-style prog rock, “Cobra” is as good an example of the dangers of studio permissiveness as I’ve ever heard, and in any right-thinking society, its perpetrators would be brought up on charges of grievous alienation of audience affection. The rest isn’t a total disaster. “Can You See the Hard Helmet on My Head?” is a catchy amalgam of old and new—Bread with a bigger beat. “Sooner” conjures up images of siestas in the tequila-drenched suburbs of Margaritaville, where Spanish guitars play and vocal harmonies bring back wistful memories of the Eagles. Funny, ’cause you despise the Eagles. And “Sweetheart” is some of the sultriest (and cheesiest) seduction music since Roy Orbison departed this fair orb. That all adds up to 10 minutes of quality music. I don’t know what you call $10.99 for 10 minutes of music, but I call it theft. —Michael Little