My Morning jacket - Circuital

the band start to let their hair down a little

My Morning Jacket are a clever bunch. They’ve been steadily carving themselves a pretty deep bunker from which to operate from over the past few years. So deep, in fact, that one gets the impression they’ve finally been able to sink their claws in deep enough that the record industry will now happily let them carry on churning whatever the hell they want to in the coming years. Why? Because they’ve amassed a pretty decent sized following who will turn out and see them wherever they go. You’d be lying if you said MMJ were one of the biggest bands in the world right now, but they are respected and in some corners they are adored. And it’s easy to see why.  They’re a formidable live band and on record they’re always interesting. Circuital is no exception, in fact it’s a blast.

Oh sure, they get serious every now and again. Victory Dance kicks the album off in a brooding, menacing and impressive fashion. It’s the kind of song you always think the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club are capable of crafting and yet they never do.  It pounds along slowly but confidently for more than five minutes before it explodes into a wailing mess of a conclusion. It’s a powerful beginning and it’s followed by a seven and a half minute epic (Circuital) which is impressive if only because it manages to hold your attention from start to finish. Wonderful (the Way I Feel) is the kind of slow burning country track most people would expect them to write but after that the band start to let their hair down a little and the album really takes off.

Outta My System is a loose, baggy number that contains some fabulously strained vocals and I can’t help but smile when listening to Holding On To Black Metal. It’s arrangement is, quite frankly bizarre, but it works somehow and it sounds like the band are having a blast with it. First Light is probably the slightest track on here but it’s got something infectious about it that ensures you’ll never skip past it, no matter how much you get tempted.

You Wanna Freak Out is a lot gentler than its title suggests but they cram a lot into its three minutes and twenty second running time and is as good a song as they’ve written in years. Personally I could live without Slow Slow Tune because it reminds me of Eric Clapton but closer Moving Away is just gorgeous. It brings the album to a sober and fitting conclusion, rounding things off in a rather beautiful manner.

On this evidence, there’s a lot of wear left in that jacket.