REVIEWS

DAMIEN JURADO
Where Shall You Take Me? [Secretly Canadian]

 

In his fifth outing, singer-songwriter Damien Jurado is taking us to his badlands - his land of darkness and semi-darkness. As he once said: "I write two kinds of songs: either really happy sounding with semi-dark lyrics or sad-sounding with dark lyrics." With his voice a cross between Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young, the sound ranges between the former's stripped-down Nebraska and the latter's rocking band, Crazy Horse. But the music lifts above that with some gorgeous bluegrass harmonies, as on Window. And the melodies are truly haunting, as on the mysterious Omaha.

But what's more mysterious are the dark themes. Amateur Night seems like a rape about to take place, Intoxicated Hands sounds like a drunken confession while Bad Dreams is a desperate plea to wake up. Where Shall You Take Me? is Damien Jurado's invitation to his secret places, where the music resonates at 3am, and only seems brighter because of the moonlight. And as in the song Omaha, if you journey enough over Jurado's bleak terrain, it will know you by name. - Philip Cheah


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