Album Review: In the Shape of a Storm by Damien Jurado
Great, Based on 3 Critics
AllMusic - 80 Based on rating 8/10
A bit of an outlier at the time of its arrival over 20 years into his career, In the Shape of a Storm marks a few firsts for singer/songwriter Damien Jurado. For one, it's his first album to be recorded following a move to Los Angeles after four-and-a-half decades in his hometown of Seattle. The result of a two-hour recording session using only Jurado's voice, acoustic guitar, and occasional additional guitar by Josh Gordon, it's his sparest album and quickest turnaround yet.
It's an apt description of the idea behind this stripped-down album. 100% solo and acoustic, and recorded in a few hours in Jurado's LA garage, it's hard to think of a more resolutely unadorned record this side of Bob Dylan 's bleak folk-blues lamentation World Gone Wrong or Hiss Golden Messenger 's hushed and spooked Bad Debt. Jurado's recent trio of albums - the loose, sprawling Maraqopa trilogy - thrived on meaty grooves, psychedelic ornamentation and songs that managed to hit some pretty intense levels of poignancy despite seemingly inhabiting mythical lands drawn from the furthest reaches of imagination.
For his 14th studio album, veteran singer-songwriter Damien Jurado strips away the roaring drums and vintage production of his recent works for a softly lit, spare stage of intimate acoustic guitar and voice. His lyrics alternate between dark and light, forming sharp contrasts and soft grey areas. On this spartan stage, he paints a world where love is both thrilling and unrequited, where friendships thrive and fade, and literal and metaphorical storms rattle foundations.