album reviews

Damien Jurado
Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son
Secretly Canadian (2014)

Kindred spirits: Red House Painters, Father John Misty, Pedro the Lion.

On Damien Jurado's new album, "Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son", the Seattle singer gives his hushed indie-rock a more vibrant sound by joining forces again with producer Richard Swift (the Shins). The two have worked together on three albums, starting with 2010's "Saint Bartlett", and here Jurado's understated melancholy sounds warmer and more lush than ever.

Many of the songs feature characters' names ("Silver Donna", "Silver Malcolm", "Silver Katherine"), but Jurado does little to link the lyrics overtly. Any one of these tracks could stand on its own as an example of Jurado's detached approach. "Silver Timothy" settles into an alluringly blurry trance, while "Jericho Road" finds Jurado's plaintive tale buried beneath a haunting haze. Album closer "Suns in our Mind" has a bouncier, more hopeful tone, thanks to an uptempo arrangement and layered harmonies, but most of the album is less obviously chipper.

"Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son" isn't a departure from Jurado's recent work; the album still showcases his thoughtful, brooding tone. But Jurado is no longer buried under the weight of his own doom. No matter how bleak he sounds, the warmth and depth add an alluring glimmer of hope.

-- Catherine P. Lewis

.: Originally published: The Washington Post: 23 January 2014.
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