TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 04, 2014 |
Posted by: K. Hess
Damien Jurado has put out a dozen albums over the last 17 years, and not once can he be accused of repetition. A man without a genre, though he's usually considered under the blanket of indie folk, Jurado has done everything from lo-fi 90s indie rock to experiments in the found sound of strangers' old answering machine tapes. With his newest release, Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son, Jurado remains consistent in his inconsistency. The album is the latest of three consecutive collaborations between himself and Richard Swift, and was intended as the follow up to 2012's Maraqopa; an ethereal and contemplative indie folk album that hints at something a bit more psychedelic. In Brothers and Sisters, Jurado and Swift load up their delicate indie guitar strums and take the aforementioned sound down the figurative psych-folk rabbit hole.
If there is one static quality in Jurado's work it's his ability to tell a story in equal parts text and sound, and Brothers and Sisters remains constant. The album plays like a stretch of highway as seen through rose tinted lenses, and the open window of a dilapidated American classic. "Silver Timothy" is the first of five "Silver" titled character meditations. Ambient chords radiate under lyrics like, "I was met on the road by a face I once knew," and later under the twisted outcome of those lyrics: "I was met on the road by a face that was mine." The road trip metaphor was not for naught; Jurado's album is very much about a journey, or a number of journeys or, like, maybe we're all just on different legs of the same journey, man. It's hard to resist stoned revelations when swimming through the album's tracks, and I mean that in the most admirable way. The album is deeply pensive with a gentle electricity diffused throughout. Even the less dynamic sounding "Jericho Road" is a trip. It has the earthy, almost cultish, hymnal quality of an Edward Sharp song; the atmospheric savor of something by Moby; and lyrics of grand crudeness reminiscent of Bob Dylan's "Desolation Row": "I was made from a rainbow / So I'm told / By the wolves in the radio / Here on Jericho Road."
The album is an odyssey through soundscapes, landscapes, and dreamscapes, artfully crafted by Jurado and Swift. While deeply contemplative, the sound never misses an opportunity to bend in another direction without abandoning its pilgrimage of the soul. It is an album in constant, forward motion and simultaneous reflection. It's airy, and at times delicate, but never light. It's densely complicated fucking fun, and with Jurado's track record I wouldn't expect another like it.
Watch the official video for "Silver Timothy"
Damien Jurado's Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son is out now on Secretly Canadian.