Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Damien Jurado’s St. Bartlett

I wrote this a while ago, but the new Damien Jurado is good enough that I’ve listened to it a few times post-review (which doesn’t happen as much as it should, but you know tempis fugit) and like it, if anything, more than before.

Had an interesting conversation with the PR contact on this one, that apparently it’s hard to get people to review things by established, relatively mature artists like Jurado, when there are flash-in-the-pan geniuses like Wavves around. I believe the term “dinosaur” came up, even, and Jurado is considerably younger than I am. So, anyway, how depressing, but don’t fall into the trap. This is good stuff, regardless of who was president when the artist was born.

An unexpectedly lush set of tunes from a determined minimalist, this ninth full-length by Damien Jurado paints delicately the indeterminate outlines of remembered love, broken connections and imagined release. Recorded more or less in isolation at producer Richard Swift’s Oregon studio, the album nonetheless is well populated, teeming in its understated way with translucent textures of strings, piano, acoustic and electric guitar, and scratchy found sounds. It suggests and evokes rather than delineates. From transcendental “Cloudy Shoes” on down, you are not always sure what is happening in a song, only that it is freighted with rumination, rue and fond remembrance. One gets the sense that the narrative – in story-ish songs like “Rachel and Cali” or album-stopping “Kansas City” – continues in the pauses, that what Jurado tells you is only a scrap or two of what he’s seeing, thinking, recalling.


“Cloudy Shoes”

1 comment:

Ian said...

I love this guy, have since And Now That I'm in Your Shadow, but I've been guilty of not checking out the older stuff/keeping up. The reviews are making me think I ought to hear this one.