Style: Funk-rock and acoustic ballads; compare to The Flaming Lips, Monsters of Folk
Top tracks: "Holdin' on to Black Metal," "Victory Dance"
MMJ frontman Jim James has been all over the place lately, singing with The Roots and Booker T. Jones, even releasing his own echo-laden George Harrison tribute. It's no surprise, then, that his restlessness has affected the work of his main band. The last MMJ album, Evil Urges, careened from rock to country to Prince-style funk. Circuital is a bit more focused, yet it feels like the work of a band that's forgotten what they're good at; "Holdin' on to Black Metal" is a riot but the rest of the material is bogged down by drawn-out attempts at "funk" and acoustic corniness. Some of the songs were allegedly inspired by The Muppets, but it's hard to imagine Kermit singing anything as goofy as "Outta My System" ("They told me not to smoke drugs, but I didn't listen") or "It's Wonderful (The Way I Feel)," where the whole chorus is contained in the title.
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