Release Date: May 4, 2018
Record label: Secretly Canadian
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
During the past two decades, the singer-songwriter Damien Jurado has been tortuously restless. He first emerged in the late '90s as a sensitive troubadour sort, sharing a curious traveler's clutch of geographical ruminations and missed-connection laments with a confidant's alluring wisp. Jurado was good enough to maintain the balladeer guise in perpetuity, but he pushed against the role's tight fit almost immediately with an album of agitated indie rock, another of homespun experimental folk, and even a collage made from voice memos salvaged at garage sales.
That all changed when the Seattle-based songwriter had a dream that inspired him to pen a trilogy of sci-fi themed concept albums, cooked for public consumption in collaboration with producer Richard Swift . Starting with 2012's Maraqopa and reaching a peak with 2014's superlative Brothers And Sisters Of The Eternal Son, the thoroughly inspired, strange and deeply compelling albums - loosely themed on the story of a man who is catapulted from 1950's America into the distant future at an imaginary land - warped, distorted and shook up Jurado's palette, as well as drowning the proceedings in otherworldly reverb to emphasise the sense of dislocation the songs are immersed in. Jurado's first self-produced record, The Horizon Just Laughed is a return to more familiar terrain after the scorched, turbulent psych-folk meltdowns that preceded it.
Damien Jurado isn't the most assertive singer/songwriter exercising his creativity these days. That may account for the fact that after 16 albums, dozens of EPs and other scattered offerings released over the past 20 years, he remains a cult favorite at best. On the other hand, that may also be reason why Jurado has been able to strike such a distinctive chord with those who consider themselves ardent fans.