Any band run by a benevolent dictatorship is bound to house
more talent than is obvious on the surface. My Morning Jacket is such a band,
as evidenced by All Birds Say, the
first solo album from MMJ guitarist Carl Broemel. Armed with a sheaf of creamy
tunes and an almost impossibly winsome tenor, Broemel comes up with the
folk/pop album his boss Jim James might have made had he not been so adventurous.
With a twinkle in his eye and sunshine emanating from his
soundhole, Broemel eschews angst for ridiculously pretty tunes and (mostly)
upbeat lyrics. Baroque touches like vibraphone, autoharp and clarinet abound,
but the focus is purely on Broemel’s voice, acoustic guitars and sweet melodies.
The album occasionally becomes too twee for words, as with the whistling that
adorns “Questions” or the harp-frosted romance of “Heaven Knows.” But Broemel
avoids sugar shock by virtue of his sincerity and tunesmithery. At its best All
Birds Say is nigh irresistible. MICHAEL TOLAND
Away,” “Life Leftover” MICHAEL TOLAND