Record Review: Damien Jurado

Damien Jurado
Seattle, WA
(Secretly Canadian)

“Expands sonic offerings to great effect on flawless record”

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Leading into his new record, Maraqopa, Seattle folkster Damien Jurado was in a fortunate yet tricky position: nothing was broken, nothing required a fix. Fifteen years and ten records into a remarkably solid and consistent career, it’s a tricky crossroads for this subtle star. Should he ride the tails of what made his name? Or take a step into the unknown?

No doubt at second term producer Richard Swift’s urging (whose influence and near-genius touch on this record mustn’t be understated), Jurado has chosen the latter. Still anchored by his ever-smooth, everyman vocals, gone are the days of broken down, bare (yet exquisite) man vs. guitar folk tunes. In their place are fully fleshed sounds that touch on sunny pop (“Life Away From The Garden,” “So On, Nevada), flashes of psychedelia (“Reel To Reel,” “Nothing Is The News”) and even a breezy Bossa number (“This Time Next Year). It’s at times a schizophrenic, dreamy haze, but never seems disconnected or random.

Is this Jurado proving something to himself? Maybe. To his fans? There was no need, but he’s certainly done it. Once again, there’s no doubt: Damien Jurado is a musical force with which to be reckoned.

Produced by Richard Swift

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