They come out swinging with "Believe (Nobody Knows)," complete with a classic Jim James vocal crescendo to please any fans longing for the days of At Dawn. But it's far from business as usual for the band; instead of taking us on a jarring tour through disparate genres a la Evil Urges, we get a definitive statement that acts as a distillation of everything the band does best. Mid-album highlights "Like a River," "In Its Infancy (The Waterfall)" and "Spring (Among the Living)" sound alternately like Pink Floyd, Al Green, the Beatles, and nothing you've heard before. This is a breakup record, but it also seems to be about nature, good and evil and aging and death, with giant hooks throughout and a few killer guitar and synth solos thrown in for good measure.
While past My Morning Jacket records have been good to great, the band seemed unable to capture their powerhouse live performances on a studio recording. The Waterfall changes that trend. If you like your rock records weird, funny, epic, sad and hazily spiritual, this is one you won't want to miss. (ATO)