My Morning Jacket –The Waterfall

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I really need to control my impulses to buy CDs, especially with this band.  I haven’t thoroughly enjoyed one of their releases since Z, and that was released 10 years ago.  Overall, the band, essentially Jim James, has good vocals, good music, a heavy play of reverb on both guitars and vocals that create their vibe, and a willingness to take chances.  Unfortunately, those chances fail a little too often leaving choice cuts from album to album.

My Morning Jacket - The Waterfall review
This release is more introspective, a calling to nature (amid ample references to rivers) for reflection of spiritual considerations and broken relationships.  It’s not a happy album, and musically, there’s only a few songs that, after digestion, you might want to hear again.  “Believe,” the opener, is one of those, likely to be a big favorite in concert, but… not so much on headphones.  It’s a good song, but one for the show.   There’s a nod to Fleet Foxes pastoral tones and harmonies on the album as well.  The best of these is “Thin Line,” despite the emotional hand wringing, “it’s a thin line between lovin and wasting my time.”   Too often, though, the stretched falsettos, lack of a clearer narrative and awkward phrasings render the songs as (professionally recorded) personal musings, likely only of interest to those in a similar place in life.

“Big Decisions” is the boldest musical statement as far as a heavy beat and electric guitars, though it pales against much of the band’s other work.   “Tropics” features a beautiful acoustic guitar intro, and, as it suggests a drug induced transcendentalism, both music and lyric are likely to be popular in concert.  “Only Memories Remain” is a suitable closer, an ode to trying to leave the baggage behind and finding solace in what you can. 

That said, the Bonus version of the album has two of my favorite tracks, “Hillside Song” and “I Can’t Wait.” 

3 of 5 STARS_thumb

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