For Fans Of
My Morning Jacket are a bit of an oddball band (their singer recently stated that he felt “flattered“ that the album leaked early, which they themselves leaked on April 1st), but this album just confirms that their strangeness is fully backed up by some solid tunes.
‘The Waterfall’ is 50 minutes of warm, ambient synth, fuzzy, distorted bass lines, soaring guitar riffs with ethereal vocals, all supported by relaxed rhythms and chilled out vibes that are guaranteed to help get your acid trip into full, mind-melting, the-walls-are-closing-in swing.
This album, the band’s seventh to date and their first in four years, is one big throwback to the 90’s, but it’s not ashamed of that. In fact, it embraces it fully and warm-heartedly, which is arguably the album’s biggest charm. The mix, the instrumentation, the song structures; it all yearns of the 90’s and early 2000’s sound that is a little lost on some of their contemporaries today.
My Morning Jacket like to keep you interested in what’s going on, but they do it in a subtle fashion. For instance, the jazzy saxophone on the rise and fall beauty that is ‘Spring (Among The Living)’ is just one example of how the band try to keep you on your feet, like a junkie that’s back on the smack. But it’s more than added instrumentation that keeps this album varied, as the tone of these songs is quite different.
Take for instance, the depressing acoustic number of ‘Get The Point’ that contrasts with the soaring, poppy, sing-along of ‘Believe (Nobody Knows)’. Or the slow, soulful ‘Only Memories Remain’, which entices you to wave your hands back and forth with mobile phones and lighters at the ready to get the somber mood really going, and this juxtaposes with the ever so slightly danceable and minimal ‘In It’s Infancy (The Waterfall)’. Oh, and then there’s the slow-moving ballad of ‘Thin Line’, because you can’t forget the ballad, can ya?
That’s just some of the variation you’ll find on this record, a record that flows, and excuse the analogy, but like a serene and calming waterfall. However, the record does feel repetitive as it goes on, and while there aren’t any bad songs on here, some just feel a little unremarkable, making this effort that little bit lacklustre.
With a running time of almost 50 minutes, ‘The Waterfall’ is a beautiful, well-written love letter to 90’s indie music. As long as My Morning Jacket are around then the idea of writing wonderful, emotionally soothing music will never die. While the band aren’t afraid to take their time with these songs, it’s that extra attention to detail that makes this the fulfilling listen that it is.
1. Believe (Nobody Knows)
2. Compound Facture
3. Like A River
4. In Its Infancy (The Waterfall)
5. Get The Point
6. Spring (Among The Living)
7. Thin Line
8. Big Decisions
9. Only Memories Remain
10. Tropics (Erase Traces)