Review Summary: Getting back to the eccentric basics that made them relevant in the first place.
Evil Urges didn’t win over all My Morning Jacket fans, but Circuital might have won some of them back. My Morning Jacket is indie’s southern red-headed step-child. It stays true to its rural down-south roots and influences, yet dives into experimental neo-psychedelia when it sees fit to. The band has always carried a humbleness and bohemianism that is a notable contrast to fellow indie Southern rockers, King of Leon. The band’s simplicity and ambition can all be heard in its music. It doesn’t try too hard to be abstract or experimental, yet is interested in presenting fans with variety in sounds.
The album kicks off with “Victory Dance,” which rides a mid-tempo groove and explodes into a thunderous climax as it concludes. The seven-minute title-track flies right by despite its length, building and growing as the song progresses, and quieting down again as it ends.
“Wonderful (The Way I Feel)” and “Outta My System” are the most pop-friendly songs, but catchy nevertheless. Whether fans will embrace the two tracks depends more on if they are in love with the idea of creating alternative music or the strength of the actual music itself. “Wonderful” evolves into a breezy alt-country song, while “Outta My System” is standard folk-rock which takes a retrospective look at foolishness in youth.
“The Day is Coming,” a three-minute mid-tempo jam, is My Morning Jacket’s token R&B song, partially sounding like a product of The Bee Gees and Credence Clearwater Revival. The most experimental song appearing on the album is the funk-inspired leading single “Holding on to Black Metal.” The addition of horns and backing female vocals fleshes the song out and gives it a full robust sound. “You Wanna Freak Out,” like many other My Morning Jacket songs, is playful and jovial, yet compelling, coming off as an alternative rock nursery rhyme for adults.
The album closes with the piano-driven alt-country ballad, “Movin Away.” Circuital isn’t revolutionary or ground-breaking, but it takes the best attributes of My Morning Jacket and utilize them to create an impressive decent effort. It flows easier than Evil Urges and contains elements of the playfulness and psychedelic jam-rock heard on Z. Overall, Circuital holds its own weight as a quality album.