Damien Jurado folds some surprising snarling flaming-blues guitars into his new record. There's also a children's choir and unexpected organ blasts. This from a guy who generally goes more austere and skeletal. It's a new direction on the surface, but Jurado's lovely voice, sad-sad songs and golden jolts of melodic sweetness are still the main attraction. The sun-through-the-clouds chorus on “Life Away from the Garden” is enough to keep a listener coming back and waiting for the eye-dropper of uplift. Elsewhere, like on “Museum of Flight,” Jurado's falsetto could tap into that backbone-shivering depressive-pop magic that makes people swoon about artists like Coldplay and Brandi Carlile. But Jurado is an emotional heavyweight. Death and transfiguration hover over a few of these songs, but, like, not in a bad way.
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