In The Shape Of A Storm
Far into the double figures of albums released thus far, the highly prolific works of Damien Jurado continue with the recent release of In The Shape Of A Storm, a largely solo effort (aside from the periodic accompaniments of the ethereal higher tuned finger-style guitar work provided by Josh Gordon) which presents ten songs of subtle minimalism, pronouncing Jurado’s vocal tones and glancing guitar style.
Recorded in an afternoon, the songs are described by Jurado as “a collage of sorts, or collection of snapshots” – effectively an assemblage of forgotten, shelved and orphaned songs that have not found their place on any earlier albums, not that any of these songs are subservient – more like transient, waiting for an opportunity to land and become acquainted, with Jurado’s belief that “songs have their own place and time”
This said ‘Storm‘ is a concept album of sorts, with an undercurrent of metaphorically turbulent scenarios recounted in the familiar poignant observations of everyday wanting, love and tribulation echoed in lyrics such as “time does not heal, everything an end” on the sombre ballad ‘Silver Ball’, and the declaration of submission on the more up-tempo song ‘Where You Want Me To Be’. There are no correlations with meteorological conditions as the sleeve art and title may suggest!
Jurado’s song choices here are in essence folk stories largely in waltz-timing, akin to his customary low key ballad-style – nothing here resembling the cosmic explorations during the collaborative work with the dearly missed Richard Swift as heard on the Maraqopa series. These are introspections on a more personal level continuing on from the soft-landings of 2018’s album The Horizon Just Laughed. As Jurado’s voice is to the forefront its easy to identify the characterful tonal strains and vocal crackling not dissimilar to the distinct voice of the late John Martyn’s middle period, a tone which successfully lends itself to the heart-rendering mood of ‘Throw Me In Your Arms’.
Considering then, this being a collection of newly recorded songs derived from forgotten tapes, revisited works, or songs that for one reason or another did not feature on previous releases – it hangs together relatively well as an album – which perhaps brings full closure to almost two decades of work, while simultaneously preparing for a possible new direction in Damien Jurado’s musical journey that has already seen plenty of diversity without ever lacking in interest.