The ninth studio album for critically acclaimed alternative rock superstars My Morning Jacket has been released into the world. Unfortunately, just like the single “Regularly Scheduled Programming” disappointed, the new self-titled album has some good moments, but fails to stay memorable.
The album was spawned during a time period a few years ago in which a permanent hiatus was in the cards for the band. But after some successful successions in CA’s 64 Sound studios in Los Angeles, frontman Jim James took the reigns as lead producer and they churned out a full length LP.
The opening track “Regular Scheduled Programming” does have the heavy rock sounds that hooked many of us long time fans, but the distortions and song structure choices are just too experimental to be the hit single we were all highly anticipating. The next song “Love, Love, Love” gets off to a great start with a rocking, signature My Morning Jacket drumbeat by everyone’s favorite Patrick Hallahan. However this song doesn’t really go anywhere exciting or uplifting and stays at the generic song style we have already heard by them.
“In Color” sounds like their take on a spaced out Pink Floyd song which doesn’t really capture the true alternative rock energy they are capable of, though on a rare plus side, “Least Expected” brings a fresh peaceful rock atmosphere to the album and lifts the energy into a somewhat memorable moment. James’ production on this track helps attain the most serene, beach rock sound.
James delivers more simple, sing-along lyrics on track five “Never In The Real World” with another generic, non-innovative drumbeat and heavy rock climaxes. By this point in the album you may be losing hope, but true fans will hang on and listen all the way through.
On the next song, the band launches into a nine minute psychedelic, spooky ride called “The Devil’s In The Details.” The end of the song gains some memorable moments with some spiritual, spacy jazz elements.
“Lucky To Be Alive” lightens the mood and brings back the uplifting My Morning Jacket sound that we all are so drawn to, which features a groovy guitar solo and a crashing energetic drumbeat. “Out Of Range Part 2” is another spaced out, unexciting track that will make you want to click next before the song finishes.
I think the reason that I am disappointed with this album is that fresh off of Waterfall I and II, I was expecting more exciting, riveting riffs and classic MMJ climaxes. However, this self titled effort has very few of those special moments and too many spaced out, psychedelic colors. I am not losing hope in this great band, however, and will remain a fan and hope for a comeback on the next album.
Scott J. Herman