There's a line in the Smiths song 'Ask' about "spending warm, sunny days indoors", which is what I've just done listening to the latest release from My Morning Jacket; and with its jangly guitars and gentle, drift away melodies, Circuital is an adequate soundtrack to those not-quite-scorching British summer days when you don't feel like doing much of anything.

The sixth studio album by the American alt-country rockers is a quiet, (though not subdued) affair that's tinged with nostalgia in both its musical influences and lyrical content. Singer Jim James' voice has been compared to that of The Who's Roger Daltry, and throughout Circuital there are glimpses of the sixties and seventies; if you listen you can hear The Stones, The Beach Boys and The Beatles. The latter influence is probably the most obvious, especially knowing that on James' solo EP A Tribute To You, he covered six George Harrison songs.

Lyrically, we find James evaluating the present through the lens of the past. "They told me not to smoke drugs, but I wouldn't listen/Never thought I'd get caught and wind up in prison" he sings on 'Outta My System', an ode to a misspent youth that attributes his present stability to indulging the reckless whims of his youth, with sage advice to the listener to do the same. Title track 'Circuital' follows a similar line with it's chorus "I'm older day by day, still going back to my childhood way." It's not as gloomy as it sounds - what marks Circuital out from a lot of its rock contemporaries is that its shot through with optimism. 'Wonderful (The Way I Feel)', for example, is a slow, simple ballad about being totally content. To complete the circuit of the title, closing track Movin' Away looks to the future, giving it all up and starting anew in the name of love.

Outside of the past, present, future theme, 'Holding On To Black Metal' is a bit of weird, silly fun invoking the use of a school choir, though the album as a whole is let down by songs like the plodding 'The Day Is Coming' with it's uninspired chorus "The day is coming...you know what I mean". Similarly 'You Wanna Freak Out' suffers from being a bit 'nothingy', and the seven minute title track is unlikely to hold the interest of anyone with a short attention span.

Circuital wont be everyone's cup of tea; in fact it's more like a cold glass of water - refreshing and unchallenging, if a little plain.

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