My Morning Jacket – My Morning Jacket (2021) [FLAC 24bit/96kHz]

My Morning Jacket – My Morning Jacket (2021)
FLAC (tracks) 24bit/96kHz | Time – 01:00:33 minutes | 1,12 GB | Genre: Indie Rock
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © ATO Records

My Morning Jacket release their ninth studio album. The band’s first new music since 2015’s Grammy Award-nominated The Waterfall, My Morning Jacket reaffirms the rarefied magic that’s made My Morning Jacket so beloved, embedding every groove with moments of discovery, revelation, and ecstatic catharsis.

Produced and engineered by James over two multi-week sessions at Los Angeles, CA’s 64 Sound, the album came to life after what looked like a permanent hiatus for the band. But after performing four shows in summer 2019 – beginning with two mind-blowing nights at Red Rocks Amphitheatre – My Morning Jacket was overcome with the urge to carry on. That sense of purpose can be heard throughout the thrillingly expansive My Morning Jacket. For all its unbridled joy, songs like “Regularly Scheduled Programming” and the otherworldly, album-closing “I Never Could Get Enough” once again reveal My Morning Jacket’s hunger for exploring the most nuanced and layered existential questions in song form while simultaneously harnessing the hypnotic intensity of their legendary live show more fully than ever before.

As their last record, 2015’s Waterfall, receded into the past, there was an increasing buzz about whether My Morning Jacket was still a band. At one point leader Jim James was even making noises about wanting to quit music altogether. But a series of shows in 2019 at Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheater convinced them to try again. Self-titled to symbolize a fresh start—a reset of their ambitions and musical direction—the new album, recorded in California by James at 64 Sound and Removador Fun Ranch West and mixed by James and Kevin Ratterman at Invisible Creature in Los Angeles, is a magnific yet detailed production that according to James seeks to hold onto the “reckless explosion of rock and roll.” Too meticulous for any explosions and not quite the mélange of “discovery, revelation, and ecstatic catharsis” touted in their hyperbolic press kit, My Morning Jacket is still a welcome, well-crafted return to form of one of the most creative collectives writing and playing out today. The reality is that little has actually changed from the Waterfall days. Still at the heart of the band’s success or failure is the quality of James’ original songs and here, inspiration did not desert him. Always enamored of big productions, much of the album sounds like it involves larger forces than just the quintet of James, guitarist Carl Broemel, bassist Tom Blankenship, keyboardist Bo Koster and drummer Patrick Hallahan. In “Never in the Real World” cymbals crash, a chorus of background singers add heft and James indulges his affinity for fashioning an echoey, Dylanesque “Lay Lady Lay” quality to his vocals. His love for showy, flamboyant productions is on full display in the chugging groove of “Love Love Love” which features massed female background vocals and a choppy, shrieking solo from Broemel. While the album’s heaviest rocker, “Complex” is dragged down at the end by a slowed tape of James voice sounding bullfroggy and monstrous, the album’s catchiest melody and most fully realized number, “Least Expected,” has a light, appealing bounce. A look back at the band’s alt-country roots, “I Never Could Get Enough” mixes a classic country feel with the modern SoCal folksiness of a picked acoustic guitar and texture-adding synths. And in “The Devil’s in the Details” James even ventures into social critique: “Growing up at the mall/ Amidst the fruits of slavery/ We all stand complicit in the greed/ Going to Sephora /To find a different face/ With enough paint I’ll disappear/ Without a trace.” More of a reaffirmation of their talents and interests than any reset or new beginning, My Morning Jacket is a reminder that this accomplished quintet has horizons limited only by James’ imagination. – Robert Baird

1. Regularly Scheduled Programming (03:44)
2. Love Love Love (03:42)
3. In Color (07:20)
4. Least Expected (04:39)
5. Never In The Real World (05:48)
6. The Devil’s In The Details (09:09)
7. Lucky To Be Alive (04:24)
8. Complex (04:18)
9. Out Of Range, Pt. 2 (04:26)
10. Penny For Your Thoughts (04:47)
11. I Never Could Get Enough (08:16)