Artist: My Morning Jacket
Album: The Waterfall
Release Date: May 4, 2015
Label: ATO Records
“The answer floats on down, the farthest shore of the mind,” croons Jim James, setting the pace for the 70’s psychedelic rock ride that is My Morning Jacket’s latest album The Waterfall.
Through a river of reverb and soul, the Louisville quintet kick things off with the anthemic guitar strums and, true to their Kentucky roots, blues riffs we’ve come to expect. But while reinforcing the genre-bending mysticism that established them as a Southern treasure, Jacket has successfully rearranged its best idiosyncrasies and delivered something truly new.
Armed with his signature falsetto over folky guitar picking, James guides us downstream on “Like a River” and keeps us guessing on the tempo shifting title track “The Waterfall”. Where technical time signatures and over-layered guitar solos once were, this record bobs and weaves effortlessly with subtle note bends and haunting vocal lines.
Following up 2011’s experimental Circuital, the band manages to keep its synth gospel spirit alive on “Compound Fracture”, while footing unfamiliar territory with more venerable lyrics than we’ve heard from James until now. This is the 7th studio album from the band and it seems that the 37 year old frontman is finally ready to let us in on the pain behind those angelic coos. “I hope you get the point, I think our love is done” repeats our tour guide with a sigh of relief that sums up a romantic burden felt throughout the album.
While the band might have left a few distortion pedals at home for this trip, they certainly aren’t playing it safe. Where past albums track’s like Evil Urges “Highly Suspicious” and Z’s “What a Wonderful Man” had our fists pumping and feet stomping, James and the boys now invite us to sit back, enjoy the views, and go over the falls.