After a decade spent excelling in the kind of hazy melodies now offered by the likes of Fleet Foxes, Louisville's My Morning Jacket took a curious detour with 2008's funky, softly rocking Evil Urges. Their sixth album finds them back on track. Circuital combines their experience with a rediscovered youthful zest, a theme Jim James visits in the lyrics: "I am older day to day, going back to my childhood ways." Recorded in, of all places, a gym, the songs frame James's plaintive, widescreen wonderment in pedal steel guitars and transcendental echo. The Beach Boys-style Outta My System laments a misspent youth ("They told me not to smoke drugs, but I wouldn't listen"), while the enjoyably daft Holding on to Black Metal suggests Evil Urges lurks in the band's DNA. But the best songs here are the most resplendent: Wonderful (The Way I Feel), a simple hymn to devotion; the powerful gearshift in the title track; and the stunning closer Movin' Away, a joyful/tearful farewell of almost unbearable beauty.
My Morning Jacket: Circuital – review
Dave Simpson is a Guardian music critic and author