My Morning Jacket - Circuital

Tirelessly deliver value for money
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It’s always more admirable to see a band take risks and deal with the consequences than never to step of their well-trodden path of success. My Morning Jacket harbour ambitions that stretch further than the limits of a dozen songs, so each new album they release finds them dipping their toes in foreign waters. Their last, ‘Evil Urges’, was the first time they caught some flak for it - the uneven forays into funk and electronics were picked on, and overshadowed the sturdy songs that lay beneath them. But thankfully they haven’t let it bother them, and flex their musical muscles further on ‘Circuital’. Recorded live, it has progressed MMJ’s sound to a real intimate, personal and tight alliance, while the songs are confident, fresh and penetrating. It starts with the understated clarion call of ‘Victory Dance’, which becomes a dark shuffling introduction to proceedings.

The moments that grab you are many: when the title track jumps from muted riff to joyous rock; when Jim James sweetly howls in ‘Wonderful (The Way I Feel)’; when the fuzz bass vibrates your brain in ‘First Light’... But the highlight is the fiendishly grand ‘Holdin’ On To Black Metal’, as a tormenting bass line carries a looping riff and James leads a female choir through the gothic chorus. My Morning Jacket should be celebrated as a band that tirelessly deliver value for money - there’s enough in here to keep you listening for months on end, and loving every minute of it.

8/10

Words by SIMON HARPER

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