Fifteen years into his musical career and Damien Jurado is still exploring the inner recesses of his creative mind, and his new album, Maraqopa, pulls us deep into his world. The Seattle singer/songwriter’s style has been classified as teetering on the edge of indie rock and folk, but this album also twists around bluesy bursts and tinny tones elevated by some heavy guitar shredding. Jurado’s latest collaboration with producer Richard Swift is further confirmation of the duo’s synchronicity with songwriting, and the live-to-tape recording of the album allowed for spur-of-the-moment instrumentation, which worked in their favor as each addition sounds natural and well-thought out.
The album starts out strong with “Nothing is the News,” as classic rock vibes roll through the song. Jurado takes the track to such a high that it’s difficult to conceive how the rest of the album will measure up to the hype of the first song; however, the following tracks slip into a unassuming space that’s vibrationally comfortable without putting listeners into a sleepy stupor. The second song in particular, “Life Away From The Garden,” lulls us into a softer space as echoed vocals of a children’s choir reflect a lost innocence.
“Reel To Reel” might be the most instrumentally-eerie track on Maraqopa, but it doesn’t detract from the flow of the album. Situated in the middle of the release, it is a true transitory piece. “Everyone A Star” is slow and steady as we are pulled deeper into a lucid dream state, which is basically the origin of the album title (Jurado had a dream about a fictitious town called Maraqopa, and from there the concept record was born with the album centered around one character in this town). In “Museum of Flight,” another standout track, Jurado pulls out a stunning falsetto vocal performance as the slight quaver of his voice matches the lyrics, which describe wanting someone to stay your anchor when you are on unsteady ground.
Maraqopa is a glowing album that will continue to reveal itself to the attuned listening ear as each track unfolds a message sent through Jurado from unearthly realms. Listen and watch Damien Jurado play a few songs from Maraqopa, as well as a song not featured on the album, on KEXP’s Morning Show with John Richards below.
Damien Jurado Tour Dates:
04/21 – Vancouver, BC – The Biltmore Cabaret w/ Peter Wolf Crier
04/22 – Portland, OR – Holocene w/ Peter Wolf Crier
05/16 – Chicago, IL – Schubas w/ JBM
05/17 – Pittsburgh, PA – The Andy Warhol Museum w/ JBM
05/18 – Somerville, MA – Davis Square Theatre w/ JBM
05/19 – New York, NY – Mercury Lounge w/ JBM- SOLD OUT
05/19 – Brooklyn, NY – Rock Shop w/ JBM
05/20 – Philadelphia, PA – Johnny Brenda’s w/ JBM
05/21 – Washington, DC – Black Cat w/ JBM
05/22 – Raleigh, NC – Kings Barcade w/ JBM
05/23 – Atlanta, GA – The Earl w/ JBM
05/25 – Nashville, TN – The Basement w/ JBM
05/26 – Bloomington, IN – Russian Recording w/ JBM
05/28 – George, WA – Sasquatch Music Festival
08/09 – Haldern-Rees, DE – August 9th-11th: Haldern Pop Festival
08/17 – Glanusk Park, Wales, UK – Green Man Festival (AUG 17th-19th)
09/06 – Raleigh, NC – Hopscotch Music Festival
09/07 – Raleigh, NC – Hopscotch Music Festival
09/08 – Raleigh, NC – Hopscotch Music Festival
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