Has My Morning Jacket come full circle? The title of its latest album, Circuital, would suggest as much. The band has certainly traveled a long way in just over a decade. But it's not as if this most recent record is a return to the lo-fi form of the Louisville outfit's quiet 1999 debut.
If we take band leader Jim James at his word on the album's title track, Circuital goes back much further: "I'm older, day by day/But still going back to my childhood way." In many ways, it is the band's most mature album as James pauses to take stock of his life to this point — both as a rock star and well before.
My Morning Jacket's frontman is at his most pensive and philosophical on much of the album, whether looking inward on the quietly epic title track, gently prophesying on the sultry "The Day Is Coming," or moseying along on the delicate, country-tinged "Wonderful (The Way I Feel)" and "Movin' Away."
It's clear that the members of My Morning Jacket long ago stopped worrying about being cool. They're simultaneously goofy and sincere, prone to meaty jam sessions, soft rock getaways, and proggy geekouts. As the band inches toward elder statesman status, Circuital's many charms arise from the band's clear ease with its own brand of rock quirkiness and willingness to reconnect with its roots.