If you're expecting Carl Broemel's solo album to be a start-to-finish demon offspring of the "Law Low" solo‚ then you've got the My Morning Jacket guitarist all wrong. Perhaps summing it up best himself in "Questions‚" Broemel delicately lays down a drifting melody while singing "It takes a lot of work to not be burnt." These are quiet tunes from a man who is noticeably yearning to slow things down for a minute.
As Jim James writes all of MMJ's material‚ there has been little chance to delve into the musical psyche of the shaggy-haired lead guitarist since he joined the band in 2004. Who knew that the lovechild of James Taylor and Boz Scaggs would be hiding underneath that dirty-blonde mop? Essentially an ode to Zen and patience‚ All Birds Say is full of simple folk patterns and present-minded lines that lyrically echo the teachings Shaman Harrison once spoke of in All Things Must Pass.
"Life Leftover" has a very Jacket-esque feel to it‚ and hints that try as he might‚ James's melodies have not escaped Broemel's head. It moves far too gently for even the slowest MMJ song though‚ but that's more or less the whole idea. The one tune that has rightfully worked its way into the full band's live show is "Carried Away‚" easily the best cut on the album. Its strength as a stand alone song in a rock band's set is still something of a question however‚ and again brings to mind the bigger query of who this album is really intended for. If you're used to head-banging to "One Big Holiday" and regularly use tunes like "Librarian" to run to the bathroom‚ then All Birds Say might encompass everything you consider a drag with My Morning Jacket. But if you enjoy the whimsical drift‚ and long for the days of the prolific singer-songwriter‚ this album could easily strike deep. Broemel himself probably hopes you lie somewhere in between.