MY MORNING JACKET – ” The Waterfall “

Posted: January 1, 2016 in CLASSIC ALBUMS, MUSIC
Tags: , ,

The ethos of My Morning Jacket – those American indie rock stalwarts – is found in the lyrics of “Compound Fracture” from this year’s album release, The Waterfall: “There is life in love and sound / Get as much as you can keep around / Before they put you into the ground.” This encapsulates both their philosophy and the pervasive theme of the album. The band’s focus, lyrically and melodically, is about fully embracing life and living in the moment. Such philosophical pragmatism from any other band might seem contrived, but in the talented hands of this Kentucky quintet, it’s effortlessly compelling. This seventh album reflects the cohesion built over their 17-year history: they’re at peak form, proving yet again what makes them one of the most dynamic groups in music.

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Every song is a testament to their uncanny ability to excel individually while bringing out the best in each other as a collective unit. The Waterfall shimmers as a whole with multi-faceted nuance at every turn. Where the opener, “Believe (Nobody Knows)”, surges as a big, unapologetic crowd-pleaser, gentler songs (“Like a River” and “Thin Line”) showcase Jim James’ honeyed vocals. There’s even a Zen-like calm to the album’s break-up song (“Get the Point”) that finds James facing the end of a relationship not with remorse but an accepting shrug. This is where the production from Tucker Martine (who worked on some of 2015’s top albums – The Decemberists, Sufjan Stevens, Modest Mouse) shines. The songs flow seamlessly through the peaks and valleys of emotions, from jubilation to introspection. Unlike previous albums recorded in their Louisville hometown, The Waterfall reflects its California origins with more ‘70s-rock influences (Fleetwood Mac and Yes), especially evident on the penultimate track, “Tropics (Erase Traces”). It’s one of the most stunning songs on the album with guitarist Carl Broemel adding depth to an already hypnotic tune with his arpeggiated picking on the intro and his backing vocal harmonies throughout. The wistful sunset vibe of the final track, “Only Memories Remain”, offers this parting thought: “Our earthly bodies will surely fail / But the love we share outlives us all.” What a perfect wrap to one of 2015’s very best albums.

 

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