Welcome to my new favorite band. I wish I’d saved the scrap of a page torn from a magazine, in order to thank whoever wrote the few lines that turned me on to these guys. The writer says, in effect, that My Morning Jacket’s album called Z is the best thing she or he has heard in a year. I forget the exact words, but something – the way it was phrased, or the overall context of the paragraph, or both – convinced me that heart, not hype, was speaking.

Z turns out to be one wonderful surprise after another. Can it get any better? Yes, it can, because there’s another track coming up. If I could only keep one song, which one would it be? Damn if I know.

“Into the Woods” has a slightly demented carnival ambiance with an eerie, theremin-ish thread that winds through it, like a very high soprano voice that never takes a breath. For a moment, it’s almost an annoyance, and then hearing it becomes as essential as food, clothing or shelter. Kind of like getting used to the banshee wail of Kate Bush, in her song about the doomed lovers of Wuthering Heights.

This single-note-at-a-time, wandering tone that’s not quite a melody, there’s probably a technical musicology name for it. The same kind of thing happens in an Ace Backwords composition, “Where Ya’ Going?” A single very beguiling strand weaves its way over, under, and around whatever’s happening with the other instrumentation and the voice.

Anyway … My Morning Jacket. Yeah.

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