Album Review: Damien Jurado- Visions of Us on The Land
Final instalment of epic trilogy by renowned US folkie
The Hot Press Newsdesk, 07 Apr 2016, 10:57
Visions Of Us On The Land is the conclusion of a trilogy by American singer Damien Jurado, the previous instalments of which were 2012’s Maraqopa and 2014’s Brothers And Sisters Of The Eternal Son. As concept albums go, it’s an odd one: the individual who disappeared from society on the early records has been abandoned on an empty earth. If this all sounds a little too Arthur C. Clarke, fret not – even if you never grasp the storyline, you can still enjoy the breezy folk and gentle psychedelia of these 17 tunes, which bleed into one another over a 52-minute trip through the gentler side of Americana.
The crunchy ‘November 20’ builds up a head of prog-lite steam, like MGMT unplugged covering Pink Floyd, while the wonderfully named ‘Mellow Blue Polka Dot’ is quite the trippy acoustic fugue, especially the floaty middle eight. Then there’s the catchy swagger of the toe-tapping ‘QACHINA’, the lovely, laidback ‘Lon Bella’ and the countryish twang of ‘Sam & Davy’ – and we’re not even a third of the way through.
The middle section includes beautiful lo-fi folk (‘Prisms’, ‘On The Land Blues’); Austin Powers-esque psych-pop (‘ONALASKA’); mellow blues (‘Walrus’); distorted psychosis (‘TAQOMA’); and infectious country pop (‘Exit 353’). The final strait, meanwhile, brings the Nashville ache of ‘And Lorraine’, the ‘70s shimmer of ‘AM AM’, the folk lullaby of ‘Queen Anne’, the tenderness of ‘Kola’ and the extraordinary beauty of ‘Orphans In The Key Of E’, which is like Simon & Garfunkel’s ‘I Am A Rock’ reimagined for the millennial generation.
Produced by Jurado’s label mate Richard Swift at his National Freedom recording facility in rural Oregon, Visions… is a strange but lovely journey with a low-key visionary.