There’s a warm glow about The Waterfall that was missing from Circuital, My Morning Jacket’s last album, in 2011. Bandleader Jim James and co-producer Tucker Martine have created a big canvas for MMJ’s sun-blushed country rock, but have avoided any note of pomposity. The Kentucky band’s tendency towards stadium-friendliness, evinced by the imploring Believe (Nobody Knows), is offset by moments of moving intimacy, such as Like a River, a haunting response to Stinson beach, the Californian beauty spot in which the album was recorded. And while it’s possible to detect where My Morning Jacket are coming from – Get the Point recalls Nilsson’s Everybody’s Talkin’, In Its Infancy (The Waterfall) has echoes of 70s soft-rock in its major-seventh chords, and the wailing guitars on Thin Line nod to Crazy Horse – they never become mired in self-conscious retro-stylings. James’s voice is spellbindingly gorgeous, particularly on the closing track, Only Memories Remain, a late-night lament to lost youth.
My Morning Jacket: The Waterfall review – big-canvas country-rock with spellbinding moments
Jon Dennis is Guardian's multimedia production editor and also writes about music.