A giant gong sounds the beginning of the album and then a Planet of the Apes string section announces the start of the album with "Victory Dance". A funky repetitive dark groove begins while Jim James vocals vibes a coming storm in from the distance and the silhouette of riders on their horses appear on the hill. As the first track demolishes upon itself and while still staring into the hypnotic album cover its hard to tell if this album which started in darkness will just sink so low you wont be able to see your hand in front of your face.
As the title track "Circuital" emerges into some major power chords the mood lifts and turns into one of the best songs on the album. "The Day is Coming" is full of pretty chords and melody floating over some sparse drums and more rhythmic keyboard. Not even half way through this album and its evident this is an album that will hold interest and continue to keep listeners off guard but extremely pleased. We haven't heard an acoustic folk sounding song from MMJ in a while but they give us a nice one on "Wonderful (the Way I Feel)."
Lighter moments come on "Outta My System" and the apparent first single "Holdin on to Black Metal" which during this song I couldn't figure out what or how the instruments were being used used in "Holdin on to Black Metal" to make sound. Is it a guitar with a wah-wah pedal or keyboards? The mystery of these guys continues. MMJ is full of surprises on this album
In some moments of songs at the latter end of the album sound la bit like Evil Urges and Z melted together and then "Slow Slow Tune" comes on with its distant wailing pedal steel guitar and Everly Brothers tinted chorus. This is a great album...go listen to it and let yourself experience what good music sounds like.
Listen to Circuital here.
The Showbiz Kids Rating: 9 out of possible 10
Michael Smith, The Showbiz Kids