Seattle-based folk musician Damien Jurado just released what is easily the strangest record of his near 20-year career. “Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son,” out this week, is full of far-flung influences: dub, Brazilian psychedilia, The Grateful Dead, Christian rock godfather Larry Norman, King Crimson and Phil Spector. Layers of psychedelic instrumentation, wandering tape-delay sounds and dystopian lyrics make for a record as confusing as it is beautiful.
It’s a straight up trip.
“I just wanted to create a record that you can’t really categorize,” Jurado says. “You hear so much influence, but you can’t really put it in the rock section, because it’s not really a rock record — nor is it a folk record. I love records like that.”
After almost two decades of making mainly acoustic folk albums, which Jurado says were not fully representative of his tastes, he’s finally embracing his more eccentric impulses. He has learned to follow his muse wherever it leads, even when it means starting over completely.
“I had a whole record written,” Jurado says. “Then, a week before going to see [producer and Shins member] Richard Swift in the studio, I scratched the record. And I decided to write an entirely different record instead.”
Jurado spent a week writing and just two-and-a-half days recording the sonically dense “Brothers and Sisters.” The lyric sheet — with references to UFOs, the second coming and metallic clouds — reads like a sci-fi epic, or an excerpt from a Cormac McCarthy novel, not something written in only seven days.
“This record has such a life of its own and its own world — it doesn’t even need me,” Jurado says.
Perhaps that’s why Jurado prefers to play these new songs alone and on acoustic guitar.
“They’re never again going to hear these songs like this,” Jurado says, of the stripped down performances. “It’s the first tour I’ve ever done where I feel like I’m going out like it’s a book tour. I’m just going to be reading passages from the book.”
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