|Damien Jurado — The Horizon Just Laughed (May 4, 2018)|
Damien Jurado — The Horizon Just Laughed (May 4, 2018)■♠■ Acclaimed indie singer~songwriter whose poignant folk songcraft has transcended detours into pop, roots rock, indie rock, and psychedelia.
■♠■ Like previous albums, ‘The Horizon Just Laughed’ started with a dream. Though, that’s where things change, as they often do. It is Damien Jurado’s rst self~produced album, more personal and more rooted than even his ‘Maraqopa’ trilogy, as though after so much time on the road he’s stumbled upon his home. — Claire Carey Deering
■♠■ Alternately acoustic and electric indie singer~songwriter with an ear for a haunting melody. Providing the ideal entry point for neophytes and an intoxicating aural high for the faithful, Damien Jurado’s new opus extends the hot streak ignited by 2012’s Maraqopa and its 2014 follow~up Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son. Cut once again with label mate and super producer Richard Swift at the latter’s National Freedom recording facility in rural Oregon, Visions of Us On The Land completes the tale of an individual who has had to disappear from society in order to discover some universal truths. Essential Tracks: “A.M. A.M.”, “And Loraine”, and “Kola” (Review: Dusty Henry, Score: B / Consequence Of Sound)
Location: Seattle, Washington, USA
Born: Maraqopa, USA. est. 1972
Album release: May 4, 2018
Recording Location: Sonikwire Studio
Record Label: Secretly Canadian
Genre: Indie Folk, Indie Rock, Singer~Songwriter
01 Allocate 4:42
02 Dear Thomas Wolfe 3:18
03 Percy Faith 2:57
04 Over Rainbows and Rainier 4:09
05 The Last Great Washington State 6:19
06 Cindy Lee 0:54
07 1973 2:52
08 Marvin Kaplan 3:03
09 Lou~Jean 3:49
10 Florence~Jean 2:26
11 Random Fearless 2:44
★¡★ Alex Bush Engineer, Mixing
★¡★ Greg Calbi Mastering
★¡★ Kim Davis Horn
★¡★ Steve Fallone Mastering
★¡★ Sara Ford Horn
★¡★ Phil Glenn Strings
★¡★ Josh Gordon Bass, Drum Machine, Group Member, Hammond B3, Percussion
★¡★ Steven Guiles Choir/Chorus
★¡★ Wendy Hinkle Choir/Chorus
★¡★ Miles Johnson Layout
★¡★ Damien Jurado Composer, Group Member, Guitar (Acoustic), Producer, Vocals
★¡★ Tyler McGeough Horn
★¡★ Drew Ninmer Horn
★¡★ Stephanie Phillips Choir/Chorus
★¡★ Dan Rigall Choir/Chorus
★¡★ Joshua Thomson Group Member, Guitar (Electric)
★¡★ Billy Tobenkin Strings
★¡★ Camille Van Niekerk Choir/Chorus
★¡★ Robert Watson Group Member, Hammond B3, Piano, Wurlitzer
★¡★ Marcus Whitmore Cover Art
★¡★ Anna~Lynne Williams Group Member, Vocals (Background)
★¡★ Matt Witmer Strings
Author: Claire Carey Deering
? Let me tell you a story about a boy with raven hair and a crooked smile.
? This boy grew up moving from state to state, watching the hills grow flat from a backseat window and the brush become evergreens in the headlights of their rented truck.
? All those goodbyes can break a boy’s heart, at least that’s what I’m told, but they can also shake loose parts you don’t expect, like eyes that see things others have trouble putting their fingers on. And when you can see like he does, I think it’s only natural you’ve got to find a way to tell someone.
? For him it started with a paintbrush and pieces of canvas before it became a guitar and a microphone. I suppose if someone took away those too he’d just find a different way to get the story out.
? For the last two decades he’s been creating and performing songs for TV shows and movies, and alongside names like Filous and Moby. He’s been writing and recording albums with people like Richard Swift.
? But mainly he’s been painting pictures for the people in towns he spent his childhood passing through, the brothers and sisters and cousins who wait in line at theatres and bars, and who listen to his music in their kitchens.
? Like previous albums, the horizon just laughed started with a dream. Though, that’s where things change, as they often do. It is his first self~produced album, more personal and more rooted than even his Maraqopa trilogy, as though after so much time on the road he’s stumbled upon his home.
? But, like I told you, this is just a story; you’ll have to ask him if you want the truth.
BY NO MORE WORKHORSE ON APRIL 17, 2018 •
■♠■ The album opens with the guitar and string track Allocate, which drifts softly past the listener in a hazy dream~like state. As openers go, it sets a mood and promises much for the album ahead. There is something quite nasty behind the message though as Jurado quietly sings ‘Ain’t it sad to see your life not work out’.
■♠■ The second track Dear Thomas Wolfe does little to alter the mood, with a strummed guitar and delicate vocals over backing vocals, piano and strings. Juarado tells us ‘Thomas Wolfe was right, he said you can’t go home again’ which is a reference to the novel of the same name from 1940. ■♠■ Percy Faith is the next track and it does pick up the pace a little, with upbeat piano and organ altering the indolent mood. Next up is the single Over Rainbows and Rainier, which is just acoustic guitar and vocals to expose the bare bones. The Last Great Washington State has a fuller sound but similar vibe as we’re told ‘what good is living if you can’t write your ending’.
■♠■ Cindy Lee is a sad guitar song with layered vocals that slips away before it starts. Marvin Kaplan is a step in another direction, it’s an upbeat pop song, with a variety of instruments. The album finishes with Random Fearless, which builds slowly into something (occasionally) big and bold.
■♠■ This is actually Jurado’s 17th album dating back to ‘Waters Ave S.’ released by Sub Pop in ‘97. Since that time there has been an album at least every second year. This 11 track album was recorded in 2017 in Irvine, California. It is definitely an album by an artist comfortable with his sound and content in himself. It has a relaxed and gentle vibe that will wash over the listener, but there are some sharp lyrics under the surface if you want to delve deeper. Jurado continues to do what he does best, and it’s very hard to complain about it!
AllMusic Review by Marcy Donelson; Score: ****½
? More than 20 years and 30 combined albums and EPs into his solo career, and following four straight records with producer Richard Swift (five including the covers album Other People’s Songs), singer~songwriter Damien Jurado emerges with his first entirely self~produced LP, The Horizon Just Laughed. It’s not an insignificant detail, given his reputation for strictly character~driven songs and the fact that the album comes advertised as “more personal.” It’s also a sonic reset of sorts, with some of the tracks returning to a more unadorned folk base after the increasingly psychedelic turn of the Maraqopa trilogy with Swift. A meditation on memory and everyday life set against an unspoken backdrop of post~2016 America, its blend of Rockwellian portraiture and personal remembrances makes for a deeply affecting collection. The spare, acoustic guitar track “Lou~Jean” is a standout consisting of a series of simple folk stanzas that reminisce in the first~person voice with poetic turns of phrase like “I strolled into diners/With skies of fluorescent/Married to pay phones/And numbers in stalls.” A stream~of~consciousness recollection that moves from place to place, and from objects to people and back again, it also remembers his grandmother (dressed in turquoise) “And me with Lorraine/Walking like ghosts in the frame.” Public figures have a place among Jurado’s hushed reflections, too, on an album with song titles that reference author Thomas Wolfe, bandleader Percy Faith, and actor Marvin Kaplan. With ethereal female vocals that often echo Jurado, “Marvin Kaplan” is a bossa~inflected tribute to the latter and his telephone~repairman character on the ‘70s and ‘80s sitcom Alice. Lusher arrangements include the dreamy, gently trippy “Allocate,” which opens the album with strings, organ, acoustic guitar, and rhythm section, and the outright psychedelic closers “Random Fearless” and “Florence~Jean,” which adds horns and electric guitar to vintage keys. Again offering a borderline traditional folk, the dispirited “1973” is yet another piece of Americana (in a larger sense than the music style) that opens with the lines “Dear Mr. Charles Schultz/1973/I’m feeding rows of quarters in the pay television and trying to make sense of today.” Profoundly authentic, nostalgic, and graceful throughout, The Horizon Just Laughed does nothing less than reaffirm that Jurado is one of the best songwriters in the business.
|Damien Jurado — The Horizon Just Laughed (May 4, 2018)|