Victory Dance
MY MORNING JACKET – Circuital (V2)

I only have one other My Morning Jacket album, but as that is their classic ‘Z’ from 2005 then I pretty much knew what to expect when I decided to try their latest release. Leader Jim James had already surfaced in my collection a couple of years ago as part of the Monsters Of Folk collective, and his contributions to their album were some of the best pieces, so I don’t really know why I ignored their 2008 release ‘Evil Urges’, although accusations of them trying to inject too much funk into their sound may have something to do with it. Anyway, ‘Circuital’ got some good reviews on its release so I gave it a go. Straight from the off I could tell this was going to be a good album, with opener ‘Victory Dance’ having a brooding simplicity which slowly builds up to a satisfactory climax at the end. The title track is one of the band’s most straight out rock songs, with a great guitar solo slotted into towards the end, and while there might be a smidgeon of funk in there it is not overdone. ‘The Day Is Coming’ is another languid rocker, quite simplistic in its repeated use of the title over a catchy melody, but well enough done not to outstay its welcome. ‘Wonderful (The Way I Feel)’s country-tinged performance would have fitted perfectly on the Monsters Of Folk album, and shows that MMJ have always had that country/folk feel running through their music. ‘Outta My System’ is a great little sing-along song that could introduce a whole new legion of fans to the group should it get the right airplay. ‘Holdin’ On To Black Metal’ promised much – would they really do a Black Metal song? Actually entirely the opposite, as this is one of their most commercial offerings, with a memorable chorus, helped along by some great backing vocals, and a thumping glam feel to the music. A surprise, certainly, but one which quickly grows into one my favourite tracks of the album. ‘First Light’ is another catchy tune, whereas ‘Slow Slow Tune’ is exactly what it says on the tin – a slow bluesy piece which give James the perfect opportunity to slot in a searing guitar solo. The aching ballad ‘Movin’ Away, closes the album, with more than a hint of Lennon in the vocals on this piano and slide guitar led country tear-jerker. So, my trepidation in returning to MMJ after so long a gap has been laid to rest, and this album can follow on seamlessly from where ‘Z’ left off. I might give ‘Evil Urges’ a try later on, but it sounds like these are the only two that I really need.