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My Morning Jacket epitomizes the idea of musical exploration. Since 1999, they have changed styles and sounds in fear that that they may fall out of grace. Jim James (also known as Yim Yames), the bands front-man, has expressed in past interviews that he does not wish the band to be “creatively static.” From their debut LP The Tennessee Fire through their 2005 hit Z and even their 2008 disappointment Evil Urges has shown much musical growth and a plethora of creative styles.
On May 31, MMJ, as they are commonly referred as, released a long awaited LP entitled Circuital. The 10-track album contains some of their greatest work. The album starts off with “Victory Dance,” a song that can only be described as a mellow fanfare. Choppy lyrics, pumping bass, electric flourishes with a string-emulating ambience in the background define this song as it builds up into a drum-pounding, guitar-cranking climax.
The title track “Circuital” better exemplifies the sound that My Morning Jacket is most notable for. Rocking electric guitars, a walking bass line and the silky smooth voice of James make this folk-rock jam a must listen despite the songs 7:24 runtime. The next notable track, “Wonderful (the Way I Feel)” brings a reverb-heavy acoustic-folk song to the listeners’ ears.The song consists of a bright acoustic guitar and an electrified slide guitar, giving the audience the feel of a classic folk/alt-country song. James’s lyrics and voice remind listeners of simpler times where the most overlooked ideas and actions made people happy, referring to our childhoods.
The most single-worthy track has to be “You Wanna Freak Out.” Recently performed on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, the track consists of smooth lyrics, a dance-style keyboard riff, folk acoustic guitar and a powerful electric bass and electric guitar. This track creatively combines many styles and instruments to make a brilliant anomaly of a song. “You Wanna Freak Out” is one of those tracks that you close your eyes to and just feel the majesty. From the beginning of the track to the end the listener gets sucked in to the power and mystery of the song.
This album fits well together as a whole and definitely belongs atop their discography as one of their best albums. Although it’s not as innovative as Z, Circuital has a variety of high spots and several tracks that can only boost the quality of the band’s legendary live show.
Listen to "You Wanna Freak Out":