Since I wrote about My Morning Jacket’s “Evil Urges” a few weeks back (comparing it unfavourably to the Fleet Foxes debut), I’ve been thinking about the band and the record a lot. Picking up Billboard this morning (not a regular habit, rest assured), I found them staring awkwardly out of the cover. Jim James could barely be spotted in the accompanying feature, overwhelmed by laudatory quotes from a great swathe of on-message, optimum-strategising execs and some head-spinning stats suggesting that, yes, they were set to break into the biggish league in America sometime later in the summer.

Since I wrote about My Morning Jacket’s “Evil Urges” a few weeks back (comparing it unfavourably to the Fleet Foxes debut), I’ve been thinking about the band and the record a lot. Picking up Billboard this morning (not a regular habit, rest assured), I found them staring awkwardly out of the cover. Jim James could barely be spotted in the accompanying feature, overwhelmed by laudatory quotes from a great swathe of on-message, optimum-strategising execs and some head-spinning stats suggesting that, yes, they were set to break into the biggish league in America sometime later in the summer.

I’ve persevered with “Evil Urges” – due more to my enduring affection for the band, rather than some grudging obligation to make myself like a properly successful act who work somewhere in the neighbourhood of my beat. And while I can’t pretend I’ve revised any of the huge misgivings I expressed on that first blog, I find myself with some of the songs – “I’m Amazed”, “Sec Walkin”, “Touch Me I’m Going To Scream Part Two” – inadvertently playing in my head at quiet moments.

I guess this bodes well for the full band gigs (I missed James’ solo show in London last week), especially that Neil Young support . But just as I slowly reconcile myself to the place My Morning Jacket occupy now, a bunch of reissues turn up to remind me of the band they used to be.

Since they signed to Rough Trade in the UK, the releases for ATO over here (“It Still Moves”, “Z”, the “Okonokos” live double set and the “Acoustic Citsuoca Live!” EP) are coming out again, this time distributed independently. They’re interesting as a document of an evolving band – though the jump to “Evil Urges” still jars.

Chiefly, I guess, this means marvelling again at the potency of “It Still Moves”: the one-two-three punch of “Mahgeeta”, “Dancefloors” and “Golden”; the seething, lunging dynamics of “Run Thru” (probably even better on the “Okonokos” live version); the unnervingly beautiful “Steam Engine”, a song loaded with private and profound significance for me.

Right now, I’m playing that “Acoustic Citsuoca Live!” EP, which is as good a way as any to point up how better suited James’ voice and his songcraft are to an unfussy context rather than a prissy, overly-conceptualised production. Of course, the versions of “Golden” and “Bermuda Highway” here would never get played on American radio, and I imagine My Morning Jacket’s vigorous defendants will find it easy to label me an indie snob for such Luddite sonic preferences.

But I suspect that, beyond his drive to be contrary and contemporary and escape the Americana shackles, Jim James’ ambitions involve shooting for posterity, making records with a resonance that will last beyond the lifespan of mere indie bands. And my hunch is that, ironically, the MMJ records that will stand the test of time are “It Still Moves”, “At Dawn” and maybe “Tennessee Fire”: records made back in that Louisville grain silo, unadorned by studio flash that’ll sound dated within a couple of years. We’ll see. . .