Album Review: Damien Jurado – Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son (Pop Press Pick)

damien-jurado-brothers-sisters-eternal-sonDamien Jurado’s new album Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son, out earlier this month on Secretly Canadian, is a complex folk fever dream of an album—mysterious, dense, magical. I have fallen desperately in love with it. A descending string progression on opening song “Magic Number” pulls us down into the echoing, cavernous chambers of the album.

Across the record’s ten songs, Jurado moves through dynamic arrangements while working within a cohesive sonic palate. The songs are rooted in folk, but comfortably explore realms of psychedelia and pop with ethereal, atmospheric soundscapes, tribal-groove percussive elements, and utterly soaked production. Second track “Silver Timothy” is the undeniable earworm, but each song has the ability to awe and astonish.

Lovers of music should be thanking the gods of sound for the partnership between producer Richard Swift and songwriter Jurado. This is the pair’s third album to work on together, and Swift’s production is immaculate. “Jericho Road” will leave the listener slack-jawed and bewildered, overcome with wonder. The balance between faint looping background texture, aching strings, bells, booming floor tom, scampering snare, layered vocals, and still-crisp guitar strums takes one’s breath away.

Late in the album, Jurado strips production down to the minimum and delivers a pair of sparse folk songs in “Silver Katherine” and “Silver Joy.” He still possesses the power to haunt us with simple, direct songwriting. The album closes with the Beatles-esque “Suns In Our Mind,” employing richly layered, lilting keys parts and snippets of conversation samples.

I’ve been listening to Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son for a couple weeks now. I knew that I’d be writing a glowing review. I was familiar with parts of the songs and appreciated the layers, the nuances. However, I couldn’t feel the full weight of the record’s greatness until I sat down to write and encapsulate my thoughts in words. It’s the difference between conceptualizing a maze and being inside a maze. Jurado’s new album is a maze I’m content to be lost within for quite some time.

About author
Bryan Parker is a writer and photographer living and working in Austin, TX. He is the founder of blog Pop Press International and print journal True Sincerity and recently released his first book, a volume on Beat Happening in the 33 1/3 series.

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