Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Album Review- My Morning Jacket "Circuital"

With their 6th album in 12 years, My Morning Jacket should sound familiar by now, yet 2011’s “Circuital” is a breath of fresh air for the band. Not just a breath of fresh air from 08’s “Evil Urges”, which many considered too funky for their hippie sound, but of all four of their latest albums. MMJ gets in touch with their younger selves on their newest LP, recreating the magic of 99’s “The Tennessee Fire” of alternative country. 

“Evil Urges” still lurks on this record on the band’s most psychedelic track to date “Holding on to Black Metal”. The track has burning horns, brimstone guitar, and lyrics mentioning hanging out with Lucifer, proudly adding this song to the devil’s playlist. On a less experimental note, the simple hum-along hymn of “Wonderful” will be proudly added to your personal playlist. The reminiscing reformed rhymes of “Outta My System” remind us of the Beach Boys finally admitting to illegal drug use months before “Circuital” was released. “The told me not to smoke drugs, but I wouldn’t listen/ Never thought I’d get caught, and wind up in prison” are the opening lines to the song of drug-using, car thief of yesteryear who’s experiences made him the man he is today.

My favorite track of the album is the opener “Victory Dance”, which has a certain Radioheadesque to it. A firm low bass whisper marches Jim James’ haunting vocals along through verses of warbling rhetorical questions. Some rhythmic drumming is added to the march before the song’s climatic moment comes when the vocals howl over mutated instrumental of trippy ambient distortion leading right into the album’s 7 minute title track "Circuital". 
The title track is classic MMJ, which is often compared to Fleet Foxes by big name music blogs. I can see somewhat of a comparison, but think both bands have their own distinctive sound. Especially My Morning Jacket with the gorgeous falsetto listeners desire for, yet miserably fake whilst singing out loud. Give it a try yourself by picking up the album that made it on most of 2011's best of lists. I have it and I give it 4.4/5 stars. 

My Morning Jacket is playing the 2012 Twilight Concert Series (SLC, UT) on 8/9.
Check out one of their recent festival performances at Bonnaroo 2011

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