An Album Review of Damien Jurado’s Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son
Damien Jurado is one of those artists that refuse to stick to one sound, one genre, not even one voice. After playing with local punk bands in Seattle in the late ‘80s, he switched to folk and began selling cassette tapes of his music and tweaking his stylistic perspective. As cassette tapes evolved into CDs, MP3s, and back to Vinyl, Jurado’s style has undergone major transformation, too. Stringing together found sound, electronic elements and the occasional bongo drums, Jurado may be classified as an indie rock artist, but the truth is, a genre has not been made to categorize an artist like this. His 2014 album Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son as well as his 2012 album Maraqopa were inspired by his dream of a man who decides to disappear to find himself, but instead comes across a spiritual world where every person or thing reflects the seeker himself. With the help of Richard Swift, the instrumentals and vocals cohesively swim to paint a picture of a dream landscape of self-discovery.
On the album there several titles of songs named after silver people named Timothy, Malcom, Donna, and Katherine. “Silver Timothy” serves as the best umbrella song that captures fantastical mood present throughout album. The narrative lyrics tell the story of the seeker’s encounter with this Silver Timothy and the psychedelic electronic sounds make you feel like you’re drifting along the road as the cymbals march beside you. The emotional connection continues with “Return to Mariqopa” where the percussion styling builds suspense until at the final moment it intensifies only to dissipate immediately into the final chords of a synthesizer. “Jericho Road” rests on an entirely different spectrum with a more Wild West vibe of a tambourine, rolling drums, sinewy strings, and the iconic bell. All three songs represent the variety of music that cohesively exists on a single album. Jurado’s own voice is played with too as layers are added for harmony. On the bonus tracks the Sisters of the Eternal Son join in to evoke a completely different environment.
I’d recommend this album if you’re sick of the mundane let-me-tell-you-about-my-day music because it borrows insight and creativity from different genres to produce a quality of music that is indescribable. It works best as atmospheric music as it somehow isn’t distracting or overwhelming, for the inspiration of the dream allows Jurado and Swift to manipulate each composition to allow the listener to escape and float in a space between Jurado’s vocals and the instruments.
-Myra Jackson/Confused by Scarves/KSUB Reporter