Four years since their last release, Circuital, My Morning Jacket return with The Waterfall, their most pop and digital album to date. Where all of their previous records had been recorded analog to tape, The Waterfall is their first record to be recorded digitally. My Morning Jacket’s 7th studio album, the band formed in 1998 behind singer/songwriter Jim James in Louisville, Kentucky.
After the release of It Still Moves in 2003, the band took a turn past folk-rock into the realm of psych-rock when their founding bassist and guitarist left and were later replaced. Though It Still Moves made the group popular, they didn’t really take off until the lineup change, the release of their next album Z, their performance on Letterman, Saturday Night Live, and their own festival, “One Big Holiday,” following the release of their 6th album, Circuital. With Circuital being their highest selling album to date, My Morning Jacket really learned what their strengths are in 2011, and took a good 4 year hiatus to record their next release.
Putting their strengths to good work on The Waterfall, the band pretty much puts on a good show of psych-rock with folk elements that provide for some great jams that suck you in for a bit, and would probably make for a great live show, but my one problem with My Morning Jacket still persists. Each song is around 5:30 minutes long, ranging even to 6:00 – 7:10 minutes, and the way that the band and Jim James write songs, it doesn’t really allow for the songs to remain so long while being just as captivating. And while this is my main problem with My Morning Jacket, it’s really my main problem with 7 minute indie psych/prog-rock bands in general, with My Morning Jacket being one of the groups that actually pull it off quite well on The Waterfall, partly due to Jim James lyricism; a bit more introspective, sometimes religious/spiritual, and more personal than a My Morning Jacket record has been before.