My Morning Jacket, ‘The Waterfall’

My Morning Jacket never fails to push boundaries, and singer Jim James and company push them further than ever on the most serious, progressive LP yet. The Kentucky act derives fresh inspiration from recording at Panoramic House, a studio that overlooks majestic Stinson Beach outside San Francisco. That might explain the intriguing number of cosmic-psychedelic, nature-driven songs, notably the densely electronic “In Its Infancy (The Waterfall)” and the Pink Floyd-ish “Tropics (Erase Traces).’’ James’s haunting voice is still in full sway, but he also presents a tougher front after a romantic breakup. “I’m getting so tired of trying to always be nice,” he sings on “Big Decisions,” and several other broken-relationship songs hammer that theme home. His juxtaposition of dreamy, doors-of-perception tunes and frustrated romantic ones can feel odd, but the musical brilliance keeps the project in focus through to the angst-ridden, Harry Nilsson-like folk of “Get the Point.” Just don’t expect a light listening experience. (Out Tuesday). STEVE MORSE

Essential “Get the Point”

My Morning Jacket performs during
Boston Calling on May 23.

Steve Morse can be reached at