Despite last minute prep to travel across China, maybe I’ll catch some new music, maybe not, I opened up my email from RPM and paused to give this a listen before going. I’d never heard Damien Jurado before, never even read any background but what drifted out of the speakers made me scurry around the interweb, to do a little bit of background.
Now everything I’m reading tells me that Damien Jurado is a bit of a quick worker, but if the blurb is right In the Shape of a Storm came together with unprecedented speed. I mean recorded over the course of two hours one California afternoon? Guns and Roses it most definitely isn’t.
There’s a haunting fragility to the vocals backed with only acoustic guitar, both sparse and atmospheric in equal doses. Reading backwards I’m hearing about a trilogy of concept albums, heavily psychedelic and researching back further I’m hearing links to Sub Pop!!!! In fact there were four LP’s released on Sub Pop Waters Ave s. in 1997 followed by Rehearsals for departure produced by Ken Stringfellow (the Posies/Big Star/REM), then onwards to Ghost of David (2000) and I break Chairs (2002). This is another artist I need to take some time out and back track through a huge back catalogue and Sub Pop seems to be the place to start
If I had to categorise this I would definitely link towards Folk, but its not quite, it reminds me a little bit of Tom Baxter, the guitar work is a little bit more than something being strummed in accompaniment to whatever protest song is being espoused, the vocals weave around the accompaniment, ebbing and flowing painting a journey within each song.
This is often quite dark stuff, thought provoking and with a real edge but washes over you giving you time to drift with the music.
Stand out tracks for me opener “Lincoln” grabs your attention as does “South” possibly my favourite on the LP, closely followed by “Silver Ball” but the reality is this is a really powerful set of tunes and I think the crossover genre potential for this LP are huge.
I would love to catch this set in the live setting, in the right venue without the arseholes who turn up to gigs to talk I can imagine hearing the proverbial pin drop.
Buy ‘In The Shape Of A Storm’ Here
Author: Nev Brooks