Its obvious from the leadoff/title track of their sophomore album that Louisvilles My Morning Jacket has big plans. Frontman Jim James is told to forget his musical dreams, to which he responds, Thats when my knife rises, their life ends and my life starts again.
Such defensiveness might sound pretentious in the hands of lesser bands, but they mean it. Theyre out to wipe the slate clean and start from scratch, re-forging classic rock out of the raw materials of country, blues, and soul, hammering out the impurities that have seeped in over the years (maybe leave in a little psychedelia for good measure, but thats it), shedding the weight of ironic indie rock posing, and simply writing good songs again.
Thats their goal, at least, and they succeed in many ways not through the all-out assault the first song imagines, but rather through subtlety and understatement, and a heavy dose of reverb blanketing everything. At Dawn is riddled with unassuming lyrical treasures such as, Dont let your silly dreams fall/Inbetween the crack of the bed and the wall (from Bermuda Highway) that will hook listeners if they dont fall through the albums own cracks first.
Its as if the members of My Morning Jacket were weaned on all the good Eagles and Skynyrd album tracks that never made it onto the airwaves instead of the hits. Which is to say that At Dawn is a highly rewarding album; it just takes a small leap of faith to work its magic.