With a little prodding, artist Duane Michals ultimately gave Jim James permission to use his photo titled “Illuminated Man” as the cover for his latest record. Uniform Distortion is the third solo release from James, not counting the cover albums. In a letter to Michals, James describes his desire for wanting to use the photo as the cover. “I feel like there is this blanket distortion on society/media and the way we get our news and information … and more and more of us are feeling lost and looking for ways out of this distortion and back to the truth.” The idea of simplicity is also translated sonically, trading the grandiose compositions of 2016’s Eternally Even for more stripped-down arrangements.
Uniform Distortion carries an optimistic excitement, reveling in screechy guitar licks and distanced harmonies. In 2017, James released Tribute To, an album consisting of George Harrison covers. The influence of Harrison’s intimacy is heard throughout the record, most notably on the track “No Secrets”.