Written By: Filip Teovanovic
Originality: (5 / 5) Vocals/Flow: (5 / 5) Lyrics: (5 / 5) Production: (5 / 5) Average: (5 / 5)
Music has its own time-space continuum, but the music scene is dictated by the same one we live in. Often, music follows trends rather than its own pace, and artists dive into what is current, rather than focusing on creation of audio anachronisms. That is why I highly appreciate artists who go against the grain and offer something idiosyncratic.
In the epicenter of the epoch when noise guitar music was ruling the scene, one troubadour appeared and performed only with his guitar. He came from the birthplace of grunge, Seattle. Did you already guess who am I writing about? That’s right, Damien Jurado. Few lo-fi cassette self-funded releases brought him a loyal club of local fans, which subsequently drew Sub Pop’s attention. They released his 1997 debut Waters Ave S. Since them, he collected 12 albums in his discography and changed several record labels. His last album, the one I am about to review, was released under Secretly Canadian in March of 2016. It is titled Visions Of Us On The Land. It represents the third album in trilogy started with 2012 Maraqopa and continued with 2014 Brothers and Sisters Of The Eternal Son.
All 17 songs of Visions Of Us On The Land are practically a sequel to Brothers and Sisters Of The Eternal Son. These three albums give us the opportunity to follow a journey of an unknown character (that could easily be Jurado’s alter ego) through warm landscapes of imaginary land. Melodic melancholy dominates the record and it hypnotizes you from the go, no matter If Jurado is intimate with his guitar (“Prisms” and “On The Land Blues”) or whether the tracks are rich in arrangements (“ONALASKA” and “QACHINA”).
Jurado paints his soundscapes with Americana, pop, rock, indie folk, psychedelic, and gospel brushes. Altogether, it sounds like a finished and well-rounded painting. It’s all about that synesthesia, mama. He is impeccable in controlling all of this genres that converge into a musical puzzle with ample motives and elements. Partial responsibility for the sound of the record also goes to Richard Swift with whom Damien adores to collaborate.
With Visions Of Us On The Land, Damien successfully concludes the vision of his music journey filled with enigma, adventure and self-search. We can be happy that he allowed us to be visitors of his magnificent music world trilogy. I believe Damien has many other worlds to show us. Until then, feel free to enjoy one of the best albums of 2016.