Damien Jurado – The Horizon Just Laughed (Secretly Canadian) – Released on May 4th
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!
Track List –
2. Dear Thomas Wolfe
3. Percy Faith
4. Over Rainbows and Rainier
5. The Last Great Washington State
6. Cindy Lee
8. Marvin Kaplan
11. Random Fearless
Over Rainbows and Rainier