Album Review: My Morning Jacket by My Morning Jacket
Fairly Good, Based on 2 Critics
The Line of Best Fit - 80 Based on rating 8/10
Recorded with almost no outside assistance after a handful of shows to mark the 20th anniversary of debut The Tennessee Fire in 2019 rekindled the band's energies, My Morning Jacket - their first album in six years - finds a supremely engaging, often blissfully beautiful halfway point between the glossy eccentricities of more recent MMJ albums and those old slow-burn yet highly combustible 'jam band' dynamics. Both the uncomplicated songs and the longing for compassion and human connection in a world derailed by greed and technological distractions in songwriter, singer and guitarist Jim James ' heartfelt and directly sincere lyrics would sound simplistic, if not hopelessly naive in the wrong hands. Here, a seemingly inexhaustible supply of ideas and telepathic interplay (hear how the relentless one-riff mantra of "Love Love Love" finds the band organically mimic a machine locked in on an intoxicating loop, or how the shinily upbeat "Lucky To Be Alive" derails into a pulverising duelling-guitars workout just when the unrewarding whiff of a novelty song starts to emerge) and James' expansive range of vocal tones (pleading and countryfied on "Out of Range, Pt 2", chewing the syllables and spitting out the bones on "Never In The Real World") renders the material into a joyous, warm and acutely infectious listening experience.
After nearly 15 years, what My Morning Jacket really needed was a vacation. Their glorious studio albums and transcendent live shows sustained a marathoner's high, never showing signs of Jim James' battered back, heart, and spirit until it all came pouring out on 2015's dour The Waterfall. The promised quickie sequel finally arrived last July as a pandemic surprise amid solo projects and side gigs, doing little to quell speculation of a hiatus.