My Morning Jacket: Circuital | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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My Morning Jacket



May 31, 2011 My Morning Jacket Bookmark and Share

Since 2003’s ATO debut, It Still Moves, My Morning Jacket has been steadily moving away from the reverb-heavy sound with which it built its fanbase. 2005’s inspired Z was a joyous, synth-driven album that logically incorporated a slew of cool new influences. It delighted critics and definitely brought the band to a much larger audience. Then, 2008’s Evil Urges arrived and left many fans baffled. It was a seemingly scattershot series of recordings that almost violently railed against much of what had made the band successful over the previous decade. On it, the band explored R&B and funk, with questionable results. It was a very risky move. But, it seems to have been a necessary one.

Circuital finds the band doubling back towards some of their earlier sonic territory and bringing along a handful of the weirdness and experimental spirit of their more recent recordings. For example, take the nearly seven-and-a-half-minute-long title track. Jim James’ amazing voice pours over crispy acoustic guitars. It’s the kind of thing you’d hear on The Tennessee Fire or At Dawn. But, as the song builds, something truly wonderful happens. It collapses in on itself, folding back over as if the band was pulling salt-water taffy. They add air and change the consistency, making the track softer and more playful. In fact, there’s a real sweet, silly quality to a number of these songs. Much of the album deals with the themes of settling down or moving on in a wry, sometimes hilarious fashion. “Outta My System,” a tale of a man looking back over his youth, opens with the line, “They told me not to smoke drugs, but I wouldn’t listen.” Perhaps the strongest piece here, “Holdin on to Black Metal,” features a horn section and a children’s choir extolling the virtues of the “misunderstood” Scandinavian subgenre. I really hope the kids were encouraged to wear corpse paint and Burzum t-shirts in the studio.

Circuital contains some of the best material this band has produced in the last six years. It’s a fun album, full of intelligent music made by confident players who, after over a decade of working together, seem to be just hitting their stride. (

Author rating: 7/10

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