I CAN never listen to My Morning Jacket without thinking of the American Dad episode where Stan becomes fanatically, hopelessly, obsessed with Jim James, in what has to be the programme's funniest 25 minutes to date.
The Waterfall, the band's first album in four years, finds Jim James and friends back on terra firma, more assured, and less all at sea than on Evil Urges or Circuitial. They state their intentions straight away with opener 'Believe (Nobody Knows )', with its massive chorus designed to let James' vocals soar. A song designed to bond band and audience in a live setting, expect it to open festival dates and shows.
A good start, but better is the inspired strut of 'Compound Fracture', a white soul/indie-rock hybrid where James, espousing tolerance and good vibes, exercises his inner Curtis Mayfield. While it very much steals the show, the 'I bear you no ill-will' break up, solo acoustic ballad, 'Get The Point'; the psychedelic-folk reverie 'Like A River'; the CSN&Y go prog of 'In It's Infancy (The Waterfall )', defined by an ominous keyboard riff', and the psych/stoner rock epic 'Tropics (Erase Traces )', are too good to be overshadowed, and throughout Jim James voice is, as ever, sublime.
The only downside is closing track 'Only Memories Remain' where James tries for the sophisticated adult make-out music, but only proves he's no Bryan Ferry. Otherwise it's business as usual from MMJ, and business is certainly good.