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Circuital

4.4 out of 5 stars 86 customer reviews

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Audio CD, May 27, 2011
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Editorial Reviews

My Morning Jacket, with almost 2 million albums sold worldwide and a previous Billboard #9 debut with 50,000 scanned first week, return with their sixth studio album, the stunning Circuital.

Circuital was recorded in Louisville, KY and Nashville, TN, and was co-produced by frontman Jim James and Tucker Martine (R.E.M., Sufjan Stevens, The Decemberists). The result is yet another reinvention of their sound that both forges new ground and maintains the distinct spirit of MMJ s previous work.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 27, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: ATO Records
  • ASIN: B004W9CG6Q
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,987 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Paul Allaer TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 31, 2011
Format: Audio CD
When we last heard from My Morning Jacket, with 2008's "Evil Urges", the band was exploring new directions, including some funk-related undertones (such as "Highly Suspicious"), of all. Yet somehow it worked. After extensive touring in support of "Evil Urges" (these guys are truly road warriors) and some time away, now comes the highly anticipated new album. And guess what, yet new surprises!

"Circuital" (10 tracks; 45 min.) starts off with the brooding 6 min. "Victory Dance" which towards the end culminates with a no-holds-barred musical crash, just beautiful. It is followed by the epic 7 min. title track, which builds and builds. Those 2 tracks alone eat up 1/4 of the album's running time. "The Day Is Coming" finds some lighter tones. Jim James' falsetto voice, so prevalent in earlier albums, is kept in check for most of the album. (Interestingly, he is on this album again credited as Yim Yames, the moniker he used for his George Harrison tribute EP released a few years ago.) "Wonderful (The Way I Feel)" is a ballad with James' mostly solo on acoustic guitar. "Hold On to Black Metal" (1st single, more on that later) is the most exuberant track on here, with horns and a girls choir backing no less, wow. It all leads to the last 2 tracks, "Slow Slow Song" (the title says it all) and "Movin Away", an equally pensive tune. What a way to finish out. In all, this album is definitely another decidedly left-turn in MMJ's output, but somehow it works great. At 45 min., this album clips by in no time and you find yourself playing this again and again.

As to that 1st single, I got it for free (technically speaking, I bought it for $2, but it came with a $2 discount for the album), and available only at your local indie-record store (where I bought this).
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Format: MP3 Music
On 2005's "Z", Jim James declared, "We are the innovators, they are the immitators" and while he was not necessarily referring to his band or that masterful album, it was a fitting statement from a group that had reinvented themselves and left most other rock acts in their wake. Six years and two albums later, My Morning Jacket may not be quite as innovative as they were when Z redefined them, but on Circuital they are still blazing their own trail and keeping their music sounding both fresh and familiar at the same time.

Circuital finds the group trying out different sounds and styles from the largely acoustic ballad "Wonderful (The Way I Feel)" which is a nod to fellow bearded indie rockers Fleet Foxes and Band of Horses, to the gentle piano ballad, "Movin' Away" which closes the album on a quiet note. Elsewhere, MMJ deliver an infectious slice of pop metal with "Holding on to Black Metal" which features a ridiculously catchy riff, horns and an anthematic chorus that all works together to create the album's most purely euphoric moment. Meanwhile, the title track starts out with a simple, bare bones guitar riff and adds layers of instruments and sounds until it threatens to explode. Throughout it all, James' considerable songwriting skills hold everything together. MMJ may be interested in trying out new sounds and dabbling in various styles, but the songwriting never goes by the wayside.

There will no doubt be those who want MMJ to bend to their demands. Some will want them to make another Z. Some will want them to create less pop saavy songs while others will probably want them to follow the current indie rock trends and perhaps incorporate more electronica into the mix. But what is great about My Morning Jacket is that no matter what their fans and/or critics expect or demand, they will always follow their own path. Circuital is not only an excellent album, but a reminder of that very fact. I'd say that still qualifies them as innovators.
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Format: Vinyl Verified Purchase
It's unbelievable. I knew I might like the album when I had first heard it, because I only liked half the songs at first. It wasn't that I hated the rest of the songs, I just couldn't understand them at the time. I gave it about a year or two to digest the album. Then at one point it just clicked. I listened to it all the way through, then immediately bought it on vinyl. This vinyl is pressed really well. The whole "180g" thing is just for long term durability, but it's worth noting the pressing came out really well. When I play it, I play it really loud over large bookshelf speakers and a subwoofer, and it sounds fantastic. The overall sound of this album, the production, is amazing. The songs are great individually, but it's really one big song. One story. If you listen to it and at first you don't quite like it, give it some time. This is how music is meant to be, digested over time rather than quickly absorbed in a few minutes. This isn't some pop crap on the top 40's, it's real music. Give it a listen.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I discovered My Morning Jacket on my favorite pub's jukebox and I've been hooked to them ever since. This is fast becoming one of my desert island albums. Circuital is a true musical melting pot. The band is very talented, the album is well produced, and most importantly, all of the songs are very good. The opening "Victory Dance" is carried by its hypnotic rhythm and builds in intensity throughout. The title track is the album's centerpiece and is amazing. The song is over 7 minutes but there's so much joy and passion going on that you're disappointed when it's over. The tracks "The Day Is Coming" and "Outta My System" both have strong melodies that you think you've heard many times before but you haven't. "Wonderful (The Way I Feel)" is a beautiful country ballad that works very well. "You Wanna Freak Out" is an awesome track with a strong melody, playful piano lines, and an interesting mix of twang and noise. "First Light" is a strong sing-along rocker while "Holdin' On To Black Metal" has this `70s prog rock feel albeit with loud horn lines. The final two songs take the tempo down as "Slow Slow Tune" is exactly that while "Movin' Away" is a strong heartfelt piano ballad. Circuital is great all the way around and I'd recommend this to anyone who loves great music.
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