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Damien Jurado’s The Horizon Just Laughed is a surrealist portraiture of America on the transfer, Entertainment News & Top Stories



Damien Jurado

Secretly Canadian

four stars

To get a measure of Damien Jurado’s quiet power, hearken to the fourth observe on his 13th solo album, The Horizon Just Laughed.

The gently flecked tune, Over Rainbows And Rainier, is his goodbye to his home state of Washington because the Seattle indie-folk troubadour packs up his stuff and leaves city.

With his casually bathetic fashion, he nails the non secular and the mundane. He is late in delivering the automotive keys to the angel Moroni (who purportedly visited Joseph Smith, the founding father of Mormonism, a number of occasions), who is “asleep in the carport”. He spots “Lucifer bashful in hiding his face from the Lord”.

In the penultimate verse, driving away “with my wheels in a turning”, he sings the road: “I forgot I was human”, then pauses for a major 5 lengthy seconds, letting the affect of what he has sung sink in.

Pure silence, earlier than the guitar returns, and he continues: “As I laid up my emotions/And I knocked them like dishes to the floor.”

A gifted raconteur who intuits the mellifluous unsaid, Jurado has produced one in every of his profession’s most private reckonings, reminiscent of his early information, Rehearsals For Departure (1999) and Ghost Of David (2000). They share his lifelong obsession with identification and self-determination.

Over Rainbows And Rainier is adopted by one other farewell letter, The Great Washington State, a tune that captures his turmoil of feelings in lastly upping and going after greater than three a long time.

It additionally incorporates a pithy line which supplies the album its title: “The horizon just laughed to see us fall off.”

Accompanied by mild syncopation, a faraway feminine refrain and a sustained, winding synth line, it confronts his ghosts as he contemplates ending his life and profession, earlier than he realises: “What good is living if you can’t write your ending?”

Calling out “I am alive, can you hear me?”, he declaims: “Sleeping in motion/I love you Washington State.”

He could sound lonesome, however he’s not lonely.

Jurado consistently interrogates his sense of place within the world, however the world is populated by personalities in addition to people he is aware of.

Cribbing a line from comic Chevy Chase in an episode of Saturday Night Live, he concurs with the American writer in Dear Thomas Wolfe, a 1970s-styled bluesy-folk quantity: “Thomas Wolfe was right when he said: ‘You can’t go home again.'” (You Can’t Go Home Again is a novel by Wolfe that was printed posthumously in 1940.)

Jurado appears again at his personal peripatetic childhood and troubled household background, soothed by easy-listening music and pop leisure.

Swooning strings and horns seem in Percy Faith, which incorporates allusions to the well-known Canadian bandleader of the identical identify in addition to a string of TV personalities similar to tune parodist Alan Sherman. “I know everything and yet no one at all,” Jurado confesses ominously.

Chronicling snapshots of private historical past from the 1970s onwards, The Horizon Just Laughed is a surrealist portraiture of America on the transfer, shifting amongst dreamy sequences, non secular insights and character idiosyncrasies.

In the psychedelic nearer, Random Fearless, he sums up one American dream: “Born in a storm/From the rumours mill/Ain’t it gas to see all the jokers believe it?”

Is it a sly critique of the state of the current Union or simply an existential zinger?

Either method, that is an American artist on prime of his game.

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