Monday, March 12, 2012

REVIEW: Damien Jurado - Maraqopa

Damien Jurado's Maraqopa is a haunting, beautiful record. The treatments on the vocals, the juxtaposition between a loping, easy pace and some searing electric guitar (which is played almost as backdrop, seemingly to create a sense of unease) and the overall quality make this one of the best records of 2012.

Yeah, I guess it's folk. I certainly understand why any release from Jurado is going to carry that label, but this thing is so much more layered, has so many different ways to grab you than just the lyrics and an acoustic guitar, that the label seems inadequate. But what do you call it? Perhaps citing Ennio Morricone, Stephen Stills, Stevie Wonder and Buffalo Springfield as influences might at least grab your interest enough to get you to give a listen. I hope so... this record certainly deserves it.

Here's the video for "Nothing Is The News" - love the reverb on the vocals:

And here's a free download of "Nothing Is The News".

The next song, "Life Away From the Garden", recreates the Eden motif from "Woodstock", and you can certainly hear CSNY as a touchpoint... but with a children's chorus. Later, "Museum of Flight" takes a Jurado falsetto on the chorus and layers it on top of treated guitars, an easygoing rhythm section and a well-placed piano. The last song, "Mountains Still Asleep" reminds me very much of the similarly layered Neil Young (Buffalo Springfield) song "Expecting to Fly"...and that's pretty high altitude for a singer/songwriter.

In places you will hear folk, psych (including the searing guitar solo behind "Nothing Is the News"), country rock, gentle '70's style soul and a wall of sound approach... but throughout you will hear Swift's creativity and Jurado's haunting voice, and the soundscape they create here do justice to both.

Damien Jurado Website

Damien Jurado Twitter

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