Where Evil Urges faltered in creating an eccentric and larger-than-life world, Circuital crafts such an unassuming atmosphere, that by the time you realize it’s just as nutty as the last album, you’re hooked.
Release Date: May 31, 2011
Record Label: ATO
If you haven’t figured it out by now, My Morning Jacket is a weird band with a wicked sense of humor. Not sardonic or apathetic like you would expect most rock bands to be, but just a genuinely weird self-aware bunch of guys that as much as they like to rock out are really all about pushing the oddity envelope. However, whereas before these (pardon the pun) evil urges were pushed into the background previously (“Into the Woods” from Z, “They Ran” from The Tennessee Fire), they came full frontal on both their last release and (possibly to the chagrin of many) on Circuital as well.
Before you write off their latest album, however, do know that it’s a better overall effort than Evil Urges. Surprisingly, the reason for that is possibly because Circuital doesn’t straddle the line the way Evil Urges did– where for every “Librarian” and “Touch Me I’m Going to Scream” you had a quintessential MMJ tune like “I’m Amazed”– instead the Kentucky-based band goes all out with reckless abandon.
It all begins with the strangely hypnotic “Victory Dance,” which builds on a deceivingly simplistic rhythm and evolves into a dark, but lovely, piece before leading into the gorgeous title track. Other highlights include the vulnerable “Wonderful (The Way I Feel)” which could eclipse “Golden” as their most stunning track recorded. “Slow Slow Tune” and “Movin Away” are also both some of the better slower songs the band has recorded in quite a while.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the absurd “Outta My System” is likely to be this album’s “Highly Suspicious,” you’re either going to love it or hate it. The insanely theatrical “Holdin On to Black Metal,” however, endears itself with its larger than life scale, and a pitch-perfect understanding and execution of its concept.
Yes, Circuital is out there– it’s not really a concept album so much as it is an affirmation of My Morning Jacket going from an established southern rock band to something more otherworldly and at times, flat-out indescribable, but that’s a good thing. Unlike the frequently half-baked Evil Urges, My Morning Jacket takes the plunge here, and they come up smelling like roses.
My Morning Jacket – “Holdin On To Black Metal”
My Morning Jacket – “Wonderful (The Way I Feel)”