Damien Jurado: In the Shape of a Storm (Mama Bird) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Damien Jurado

In the Shape of a Storm

Mama Bird

Apr 16, 2019 Web Exclusive
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With an output of 14 albums in two decades, singer/songwriter Damien Jurado exhausted pretty much every avenue. On his new album In the Shape of a Storm, Jurado resigns to just the bare elements that anchor his restless career: his voice, his words, and his guitar. Opening cut “Lincoln” concedes as much: “There is nothing to hide.”

In the Shape of a Storm caps off an erratic, yet remarkably consistent decade for Jurado. Last year’s predecessor, The Horizon Just Laughed, found him awakening from a five-album stint with the late Richard Swift. In Swift, he finally found someone who could sonically articulate his many creative touchstones. During this phase, Jurado’s lyrics sketched the utopian imagery of silver-clad apostles, spaceships, and psychedelic mirages. With the Maraqopa-trilogy, Jurado finally drifted beyond the ballad-mongering songsmith-trope he not so secretly started to hate.

That reluctance to embody the brooding alt-folk-hero has always been part of Jurado’s charm. On In the Shape of a Storm, he finally appears to be coming to terms with this. Flourishes of soft rock and soul-pop have completely fizzled out. It’s just Damien Jurado now, his thoughts laid bare, his voice perpetually trembling on the verge of collapse. It’s deeply moving. After Swift’s untimely, tragic passing, Jurado’s work naturally awakened to a more rooted place. On Horizon he confronted his turmoil and confusion within the strains of reality. Many of his pet interestsusually forgotten cult figures and charactersslithered their way into his songs, becoming emblematic to things we lost along the way.

In the Shape of a Storm rallies in its own way, stripping away all the frills, finding its emotional center with a deep sense of yearning and affection. The peripheral noise is tuned out by the hiss of tape, making this his most intimate set of recordings yet. And really, it’s a strange comfort that many songs on the album had been collecting cobwebs over the years. Songs lost in time, waiting to be sung as the calm beckons.

“Strange as it seems/I have known you before/But it was not our time yet,” he proclaims on the title track. Even with a vocation as bashful as Damien Jurado’s, could this be a subtle nod that he has realized its cogency all along? (www.damienjurado.com)

Author rating: 8/10

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Average reader rating: 2/10


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Turtle Creek
April 17th 2019

The main issue I have with pieces of this effort are the lyrics. Jurado has always told stories, but at times the lyrics in some of these songs are so disjointed and muddled they become distracting. I love the sound and feel but am turned off at times by an inability to connect in any satisfying way with what’s being said in some songs.