When Carl Broemel joined My Morning Jacket in 2004, the group had already shed its alt-country skin and grown into an experimental rock band. Broemel keeps things relatively twangy on his solo debut, though, bypassing MMJ’s penchant for space jams and multi-genre combos in favor of an earthy, straightforward sound. All Birds Say is often a team effort -- fellow MMJ bandmate Bo Koster plays organ and vibraphone, while a handful of guests contribute everything from horns to string bass -- but Broemel remains in the driver’s seat, sporting an unassuming voice that knows its limitations and an ear for textured arrangements. Rarely do any of these songs break a sweat; they’re mostly laid back, mid-tempo ruminations on everyday life, with the lyrics playing second fiddle to the Nashville-influenced sound that Broemel and his friends brew up. Whenever he piles on the pedal steel and overdubbed harmonies, Broemel sounds a bit like Ryan Adams circa Jacksonville City Nights. All Birds Say isn’t concerned with aping anyone else’s sound, though, and it wields the sort of casual confidence that’s rarely heard on a sideman’s solo project. If Carl Broemel ever decides to quit his day job, he’s got a promising future here.
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AllMusic Review by Andrew Leahey