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My Morning Jacket: The Waterfall

Gently does it for Jim James’s album number eight.

MMJ’s eighth album finds the band drifting further away from the noodley, guitar-drenched Americana with which they made their name, continuing on a journey that’s taken them in an increasingly celestial direction.

Much of The Waterfall has a sincere, rather churchy feel - think The Shins or Lambchop taking on Godspell - but bathed in warm and woozy waves of synths. It’s sometimes a little stiff, exultant without ever reaching ecstasy, uplifting without ever quite achieving the transcendence of, say, The Soft Bulletin or Olias Of Sunhillow, but when it’s good, it’s very good.

Thin Line is gorgeous, with its simple, mournful guitar lines, and Get The Point has a lovely, hazy poignancy, like Death Cab For Cutie covering Fred Neil’s Everybody’s Talkin’.

The smokey, 3am slow funk jam Only Memories Remain is the loosest thing on show, but even this is an exercise in restraint, with solos that ease themselves gently into the world rather than explode./o:p

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