Brothers and Sisters of The Eternal Son
I always loved how Damien Jurado’s lyrics sucked you right in, drew you in – but that voice, seeming somehow detached from the action, not bored (not quite) but almost colourless, meant that you had to do the work as much as Jurado was. In fact he’d done the work – the writing of the songs – you, the listener, had to come to it. You had to attach yourself. I first got hooked into Jurado’s music about a decade ago and I slowly slipped away. It was only the mention that this new album was a thematic/musical sequel to his other recent album, Maraqopa, that got me right back in there, immersed in Jurado’s sounds.
Here he’s never sounded more like what it could have been to have Elliott Smith backed by The Flaming Lips, opener Magic Number and on through Silver Timothy has this tightly-drawn swirl of nearly-psychedelic folk and Jurado singing his homilies.
These lovely, bitter-sweet tales of yearning.
Much of the trippy sound comes of course from producer Richard Swift and it’s a strong partnership now, here the pair worked quickly to flog out several songs choosing the best for this album and there’s a bonus-disc version that collects another eight – they’re no mere filler though. The songs on the “Sisters” bonus disc, alternate versions, are a useful part of the story.
Ghostly echoes hue Silver Malcolm as Jurado sinks himself and the listener, in that order of course, deep into tales of a man who goes missing in search of himself.
He has that ache in his songs that people might take from Fleet Foxes. But he’s not singing about starting up a fucking orchard. You believe this guy. In fact it’s often jaw-dropping, the mix of voice, subtle string arrangements and the power of these starkly beautiful songs. In that sense I consider this not only one of his finest albums but a fine companion to last year’s wonderful Phosphorescent album.
I want to say welcome back to Damien Jurado – but it’s me that left him. This and Maraqopa find him in super strong form. He’s making a troubadour-soul music for these times – heartfelt and windswept, moody, interesting, plaintive and now a lot more passionate that it seemed in the past. Hints of the great 70s singer/songwriter fare on Silver Joy, touches and traces of 1960s rock. And it’s all so perfectly honed into his own wee world of sounds.
Another of the best new releases of 2014