My Morning Jacket's The Waterfall: What You Need To Know
A little background...
Hailing from Louisville, Kentucky, My Morning Jacket have turned out six studio albums since their 1999 debut The Tennessee Fire, blending their alt-country roots with a harder-edged rock sound and winning themselves a legion of loyal fans in the process.
In March this year the band announced their new album The Waterfall - their first full-length offering since 2011's brilliant Circuital – and debuted the first of the album's new songs, 'Big Decisions'. But then, as is so often the case these days, the new album leaked online and unlike some of the album 'leaks' in recent years, this wasn't a cynical marketing ploy either.
However, frontman Jim James seems pretty relaxed about the situation, commenting in the band's Reddit AMA last week that he was “flattered” by the leak, pointing out in typically philosophical manner that there are people who can't afford heath insurance: “So in the grand scheme of things, who f*cking cares, right?”. He was also keen to point out though that musicians still need to recoup recording costs and that it's still important to support them: “Go to a show. Buy a record even if you already stream it / stole it.”
From next week (May 4th), you'll be able to do exactly that.
Who's producing it?
This time round the band have been working with producer / engineer Tucker Martine, who has been behind albums by the likes of Modest Mouse and the Decemberists, with the album being recorded at Panoramic House Studios on California's Stinson Beach, something James feels has had an effect on the album's overall vibe: "Stinson Beach was so psychedelic and focused. It was almost like we lived on our own little moon out there. It feels like you're up in the sky."
Any special guests?
My Morning Jacket aren't really the type of band to have guest stars all over their records and so it is with The Waterfall, comprising just the band's members in a remote Californian beach house.
What are the standout tracks?
The two singles released so far – the aforementioned 'Big Decisions' and its follow-up, 'Spring (Amongst The Living)' – are both strong moments, but other standouts include the swooning country vibe of 'Get The Point' and the chugging groove of 'Compound Fracture.'
Does it deliver?
Fans of My Morning Jacket's last couple of albums are highly unlikely to feel any disappointment about this very accomplished set of songs from a band that just seems to get better and better at what they do. They've found their unique furrow and they continue to plough it without resorting to a formulaic 'that worked last time, let's do it again' approach.
If My Morning Jacket's music has never floated your boat, there's no reason why this should change your mind any more than Circuital, but for those who enjoy the band's unique vibe this will be well worth the four year wait and, as Jim James himself says, even if you've already stolen it, you should go and buy it anyway.