Damien Jurado- Saint Bartlett


When people think of Damien Jurado, they probably think of a sensitive northwestern singer/songwriter who likes to play lots of acoustic guitar and have women sing with him. I, for one, have thought that his last few cds just seemed like a blurring of one continuous album that never really stuck out to me. That's probably not a fair assessment.

Saint Bartlett, which was produced by Richard Swift, really caught me off guard. It's a very solid record: the songs are catchy, haunting, and distinctive. But the thing that really sealed it for me are the great idiosyncratic percussion and doo-wop sensibilities. It's still a Damien Jurado record, but it sounds like one that would be playing in the background of an episode of Twin Peaks.

His songs always seem confessional, but they're often from the point of view of others. This record was apparently made while several friends were going through divorces, in hospitals, etc. The different points of view make it "read" like a collection of stories by Ray Bradbury.

It's a really affective record. I have some days when I pull in to work on my bike and all i can think of is the endless loop that he sings on the first song: "Trying to fix my mind, trying to fix my mind." This has been one of my favorite records of the past year.

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