When Carl Broemel joined My Morning Jacket in 2004, the group had already shed its alt-country skin and grown into an experimental rock band. Broemel keeps things relatively twangy on his solo debut, though, bypassing MMJ’s penchant for space jams and multi-genre combos in favor of an earthy, straightforward sound. All Birds Say is often a team effort -- fellow MMJ bandmate Bo Koster plays organ and vibraphone, while a handful of guests contribute everything from horns to string bass -- but Broemel remains in the driver’s seat, sporting an unassuming voice that knows its limitations and an ear for textured arrangements.
There was a time early last decade, before embarking on a fantastic stylistic lark that that has at times suggested a meld of Sigur Rós and the Allman Brothers, when My Morning Jacket was still a country band. A loosely defined one perhaps, leaning more toward reverb-soaked strangeness than tears-in-your-beer orthodoxy, but one still significantly informed by the example and standards of the genre. The band has since grown out of most of these traits, ranging out into far more inimitable territory, but at times there’s nothing wrong with yearning for simpler things.
Carl Broemel offers modest musings in his debut solo endeavor All Birds Say. Instrumental sophistication combines with lyrical innocence from the My Morning Jacket guitarist, with baritone sax, bassoon and clarinet from Broemel’s father, Robert Broemel, formerly of the Indianapolis Symphony. The album opens with the instrumental title track, which sets a chilled acoustic tone, but the ice melts with flutters of autoharp.