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Thursday, June 9, 2011

My Morning Jacket - Circuital: An Album You Won't Wanna Get Out of Your System

The Green Eye of Black Metal?
Why not do my 1st music post reviewing the latest album of my favorite band?  I have a great deal of bias here but I don't really care.  Besides won't any post I ever write be with a very high level of bias since I am telling you what I think about something? Yeah, we're gonna get deep.  

By the way, as easy as I thought it would be to review this album it took me 2-3 days.  Maybe I tried too hard (that’s me downplaying this because I’m not overly happy with it but I’ll get better as time goes on.  I haven’t done any sort of writing like this in years so cut me some slack!)

Oh and I'm not going to talk about "Holdin' on to Black Metal."  It's a solid tune but you can only read so many people praising it in every review you read.  

I will mention "Victory Dance" though.  It’s the perfect song to kick off their 6th studio album and odds-on live show opener for years to come.  The song seemingly picks up where 2008’s Evil Urges left off and sets the table for the album like the reincarnated sound of "Touch Me I'm Going to Scream Pt.2" that ended Urges.  It has this chill yet funky yet soothing sort of futuristicness to it.  Every review has to have a part in it where you go crazy with adjectives, right? Glad I got mine out of the way.  Anyway, it also opens the door to the depth of the album in Jim James’ lyrics when he asks "Should I lift the dirt and plant the seed even though I've never grown?" 

Most expected an album similar to 2005's Z when Evil Urges was released and were subsequently disappointed as this wasn't the case.  Urges has some great pieces but those pieces don’t exactly fit together to form any sort of clear picture.  After listening to Circuital quite a few times now I almost think of Evil Urges as a longer-than-normal EP.  There are definitely some elements of MMJ present with some experimentation based on their long-time love of classic R&B and funk.  This band continues to grow and get more comfortable in their music and abilities.  Just wait until they delve into their polka influence!

(I am aware that there is no transition from polka in the next line so relax)

"Out of My System" is as intriguing as it is oddly located on the album.  It follows their classic live song but 1st time studio gem, "Wonderful (The Way I Feel)."  Then again, where wouldn’t it be oddly located I suppose?  In “System,” James lets loose a comical homage to the memories of a car thief as he (or she) looks back on his (or her) days of smoking pot and causing upset phone calls to car insurance agents.  He freakin' starts the song by rhyming the first four lines with "listen," "prison," "dissin," and "system!" 

I touched on the album opener, so how about the closer you ask?  Glad you did.  "Moving Away" is a fantastic song.  It’s an instant classic in the genre of mellow My Morning Jacket awesomeness.  It’s my blog and I am giving them said genre.  It literally brings this finality to the album as if it's the song you’ll hear as you close your eyes for the final time.

Speaking of bringing a finality to something….

I will say that I am confident my decision to start buying vinyl a few months back was to prepare me for this album.  Now hang on and stop judging me music fan, I'm still new to vinyl so don't kill me over classics and claim that I am blasphemizing.  I assume everybody that does vinyl has that one record that really blew them away before any others.  Anyway….I listened to this album a few times via my computer prior to May 31 but not until I got the record, hit the power button, and moved the needle did I really HEAR Circuital.  In my opinion My Morning Jacket naturally sounds better over vinyl anyway but Circuital has so much depth to it.  The 1st time I listened to the record with headphones I could literally see the layers in the music.  The influences on each song from their previous albums were as clear as ever.  Circuital is a complete album that brought me back and reminded me why this is the best band out there right now.  It was a true circuital moment. 

Scope "Wonderful (The Way I Feel)" live from their epic Unstaged event from 5/31 below

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