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CD review: My Morning Jacket

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Annie Zaleski

The Details

My Morning Jacket
Circuital
Two and a half stars

How many bands have exploded in popularity by imitating My Morning Jacket’s brand of easygoing ’70s folk, vintage country and thundering classic rock? Too many to count. Perhaps that stylistic saturation explains why sixth MMJ album Circuital sounds pedestrian bordering on bland. The pedal steel/piano-driven waltz “Movin’ Away” and twang-riddled “Slow Slow Tune” are sleepy and meandering, while the acoustic flutters and delicate crooning of “Wonderful (The Way I Feel)” play like a pleasant homage to Fleetwood Mac. “Victory Dance” is an even more egregious rip-off, of TV on the Radio, right down to the falsetto vocals and apocalyptic chords. Most frustrating about Circuital: MMJ occasionally flashes brilliance. The title track hollers with the anthemic edge of The Joshua Tree. “Holdin’ on to Black Metal” features a rowdy children’s choir, peppy horns and slinky dance grooves. And “First Light” explodes with fuzzy stoner-rock riffs. But those are the only glimpses into the searing emotional territory My Morning Jacket once traversed consistently.

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