My Morning Jacket have been around for a while now. The amount of albums they have released in the time they have been together is a thing worthy of respect and suggests that they take their music making seriously. Gaining exposure simply for said great music making, they have also done things along the way to help bolster that fame such as contribute music to the 2005 Cameron Crowe film Elizabethtown, which was also the perfect visual representation of everything they are about as a band.
Southern rock has become more of a trend in recent years with groups like Kings of Leon (QRO album review) or Band of Horses (QRO live review), but My Morning Jacket have been at the forefront of this resurgence. Yet they also bring to the table a folk element that when coupled with their country tinge makes for something truly original. Ultimately we can thank them for today’s groups like Fleet Foxes (QRO album review), Blitzen Trapper (QRO live review), or The Avett Brothers (QRO album review).
On Circuital, the group’s sixth studio album and first since 2008’s Evil Urges (QRO review), they sound more ambitious than ever. On their first record, 1999’s The Tennessee Fire, hollow sounds and echoes abounding, they literally sounded like a bunch of guys in a garage. Not much changed from then until now, with the exception of Evil Urges where they sounded noticeably tighter, evidenced by the drums in particular. On that album the drums felt like they had individual microphones as opposed to sounding as though they were at the other end of a room with one microphone capturing them as a whole.
Standout songs are plentiful on Circuital. The song “Wonderful (The Way I Feel)” is aptly titled and could have sufficed as the album’s title track given that wonderful seems to be exactly how these Kentuckians feel with the upbeat vibe of the album.
Other album highlights include the song “Outta My System”, with its simple chord progression, steel guitar, and ambient electric piano, the haunting children’s choir on “Holding On To Black Metal,” the infectious groove and fuzzy bass line of “First Light”, and the touching piano and subtle cello on the album’s closer “Movin’ Away”.
My Morning Jacket deserve credit for knowing what they are good at. They have been able to maintain their niche, yet at the same time they consistently explore new territory with each album they put out. Some bands stick adhere to their skill set to the point that they end up recycling the same songs over and over again with each album. On Circuital, My Morning Jacket prove that what they have to offer is lasting and even if their moment in the spotlight comes to an end it would be okay, because it is obvious that they make music because they enjoy it. If the rest of the public finds enjoyment in it as well then that is icing on the cake of their already-awesome career.