Tue January 7, 2014
First Listen: Damien Jurado, 'Brothers And Sisters Of The Eternal Son'
Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 2:43 pm
It's a testament to singer-songwriter Damien Jurado's versatility that he's made nearly a dozen albums of largely inward-looking folk and rock music, and yet has never made two records that sound the same. He's released collections of sad solo acoustic music, hard-charging up-tempo rock, subtle psychedelic wanderings, and even painfully intimate messages he'd found left behind on thrift-store cassette tapes — and they all either sound like him or, in the case of the answering-machine tapes, perfectly reflect his sensibilities.
Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son is intended as a sequel to 2012's Maraqopa — both were produced by the terrific Richard Swift, who's made fine records of his own — but it's far from a rehash of old ideas. Both records reflect on ideas of alienation, disappearance and the pursuit of self, yet Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son takes them further, while enshrouding Jurado's voice in arrangements that alternately sparkle and search.
Jurado isn't one to provide a linear path to easy answers, but he does let Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son coast to a landing on the strength of a few surprisingly light and lovely songs. In contrast to the billowy and mysterious arrangements that preceded them (both here and on Jurado's most recent records), "Silver Katherine," Silver Joy" and "Suns in Our Mind" close down the proceedings with moments of straightforwardly quiet grace. "Suns in Our Mind" even injects a bit of humor, complete with playful snoring noises — yet another unexpected wrinkle from an artist who never stops surprising.