I have to admit to not being much of a fan of the band, often lumping them in with whoever is the latest pretender to being real rockers on the alt-radio. Yet, if you pay attention to your life at all, most of the best times, in retrospect, are the times you were wrong, learned something, and were better for it. These demos are often so expansive and emotionally charged that they could serve as most band?s best officially recorded work. I was wrong; MMJ is the real deal, and there is no better place to begin for late-comers than this mighty set.
Many tunes, like ?Just Because I Do,? and ?Lead Me Father? have the depth of some of those latter-day Johnny Cash releases. MMJ?s patented hazy compression adds a mystical color to these acoustic tunes. Other tracks, especially ?Chills? and ?The Bear? use those colors to heart-breaking effect. If I were less awake than I am now and thus more prone to exaggerating, I?d call this the best record of the year. Chastened by coffee and sunlight, I?ll still say it is among the best so far, and climbing with each listen. 9/10 -- Mike Wood (26 June, 2007)