Monsters of Folk? Is it the new Crosby Stills & Nash? An updated version of The Traveling Wilburys? Sort of. It's the new supergroup featuring Conor Oberst, M. Ward, and My Morning Jacket's Jim James. Their self-titled debut has been in the works now for awhile and has been one of the most anticipated releases of the year. Does this supergroup live up to it's expectations? Not really, but wasn't that to be expected? When you put three juggernauts of the indie-folk scene together huge expectations are created, expectations that are seemingly impossible to achieve. In my opinion, these guys could have put out a three song EP and I would have been satisfied. I'm more interested in their three hour long live shows that spans their individual careers as well as their collaborative work. Each of them do what they do best on this album, Oberst creates vivid complex imagery with his lyrics, and Ward plugs away at his vintage AM-Radio sound.
However I feel like Jim James has been cheated on this album. He only takes lead on a few songs, which turn out to be the best songs on the album! What this album lacks in is variety, which is a shame because My Morning Jacket is one of the most eclectic rock bands in the world right now. James has always been a man who pushes the boundaries of his music. I feel if he had a stronger presence on this album this release would have easily been one of the best releases of the year. I have posted three tracks off of this album exemplifying each of the three singer's attributes.
Man Named Truth, originally a Bright Eyes leftover that was never officially recorded, here Conor Oberst paints a Dylan-esque picture in your head with an array of didactic lyrics.
Goodway showcases M.Ward 's trademarked lackadaisical easy going strumming, a good ol' song to take you back to the good ol' days.
Losing Yo Head, is the one rocker on this primarily folk album. Here Jim James pummels through this song giving it a very Cheap Trick feel.