My Morning Jacket: Circuital

My Morning Jacket
(ATO Records)

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It’s not often one comes across an album such as Circuital, the most recent production from Kentucky rockers My Morning Jacket.  But it’s a glorious thing when it happens, as the ten tracks feel, at first listen, like a classic album deserving a place in the archives of rock-n-roll history.  The songs are musically complex, compelling in content and often beautifully melodic with singer Jim James’ soulful, far-off voice leading the way and stringing the tunes together cohesively.

The title track and first single is one of the clear standout tracks as it balances mystical, mellow passages with more assertive, brighter segments reminiscent of fellow southerners The Allman Brothers Band.  This is followed by two more stirring, harmonious songs, “The Day Is Coming,” which exchanges a lead guitar for a keyboard bringing a more popular music feel, and the emotive, gorgeously sung and produced, “Wonderful (The Way I Feel).”  The album then changes gears with “Holdin On To Black Metal” and “First Light,” both of which are louder, with a 1970’s inspired sound retaining an impression of a live show. This is followed by another brilliant grouping of songs: the upbeat “You Wanna Freak Out” leading directly into a bluesier “Slow Slow Tune,” followed by “Movin Away,” which closes the album with a sorrowful, cinematic, slow motion wave goodbye.

It’s not just the songs themselves, it’s the spirit of the album and it’s insightful, inflective lyrics that really lift Circuital to the level of classics from artists like George Harrison and Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young.

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About Tim Needles

Tim Needles is an artist, photographer, humorist, and writer from Long Island, NY. His writing and art work has been seen in multiple exhibitions and publications around New York as well as the Photographer’s Forum, French Photo, the New York Times, and LI Pulse magazine. He is also an educator and currently teaches art and film at Smithtown, NY and as an Education Leader for Adobe. He was recently the recipient of the Robert Rauschenberg Award in Washington DC and serves as the director of Strictly Students, a non-for-profit group for media and education. His work can be seen on his website: www.timneedles.com
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