Sunday 4 March 2012

Damien Jurado - Maraqopa

With the release of Damien Jurado's fifth album, Where Shall You Take Me?, in 2003 I felt that he'd gone as far as he could so I stopped buying his records after that. If Jurado had signed off as his major influence Phil Ochs had done in 1970 with a grandly desolate statement like No More Songs, then I'd have packaged his discography as 'criminally overlooked but perfectly weighted'.

Just as well Jurado carried on, as his twelfth album, Maraqopa, is at least as strong as what I had down as his best, Rehearsals For Departure. There's greater variety on this record than I'm used to from Jurado. From the baroque pop of Life Away From The Garden to the desert country of the title track to the country and psychedelia-flecked So On, Nevada, this is a a record rich in softly-spoken classicism, quiet power and enough enigma to pull you in for repeated plays.

If between 2004 and 2011 Jurado made an album that I should have paid attention to, please let me know. Because if it's anywhere near as good as Maraqopa, then it's a must-buy.

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