REVIEW album Old Subbacultcha Old Subbacultcha

Folk-music you can air-drum to from Damien Jurado

Old Subbacultcha

Old Subbacultcha

The lushly-produced eleventh album from Damien Jurado covers plenty of musical ground in its 35 odd minutes with a prevailing woozy summer breeze


Damien Jurado - Brothers And Sisters of The Eternal Son (OUT 20TH JANUARY)

album trailer for
‘Brothers And Sisters Of The Eternal Son’ bucks the usual trend of cryptic teases and flashes of song snippets and instead offers an ultimately more illuminating and rewarding interview with
Jurado and producer
Richard Swift. In it they variously describe the record as both “
reggae” and “
something you can air-drum to” which for a
Jurado-novice such as I, expecting a folky singer-songwriter affair, was certainly an intriguing prospect. On my periphery for a while now I’d always pigeon-holed him somewhere in the thereabouts of
Pedro The Lion,
Hayden and the like, so with preconceptions duly checked, onwards… And rightly so as it soon transpires, opener
‘Magic Number’ manages to segue from a
‘Dear Prudence’ guitar arpeggio into a
Serge Gainsbourg-esque number of shuffling drums, punchy bass and swooning strings and is about as far from beardy introspection as you could be. Later on in ‘
Silver Donna’ there’s a bass line that’s positively funky, teeing up an extended instrumental jam with handclaps and all that has the hippies running wild a la
Primal Scream’s hazy opus 1997
‘Vanishing Point’ and there’s even more air-drumming to be had in the Fleet Foxes groove of ‘
Silver Timothy’. But it’s a fuggy summer of love vibe that largely dominates perhaps best typified by
‘Metallic Cloud’ whose reverbed piano and general Wall of Sound atmospherics immediately conjures
John Lennon in
‘Imagine’ and
‘Mind Games’ mode. A more contemporary spiritual cousin and reference point is
My Morning Jacket frontman
Jim Jame’s excellent 2013 solo album
‘Regions of Light And Sound And God’ (and not too dissimilar an album title either) or, and perhaps more laterally, the melancholy side of the
Arctic Monkeys and
Alex Turner’s
‘Submarine’ soundtrack in particular. In similar vein there’s the positively jaunty
‘Suns In Our Mind’ whose layered vocals manages to sound at both turns
Phosphorescent and the
Beach Boys, and
‘Jericho Road’ which plays like a spaghetti western
‘Hotel California’ replete with distorted vocals, Morricone gongs and distant cymbal rumbles, not too dissimilar to the dust-bowl dramatics to
Calexico. To prove that my preconceptions weren't entirely misplaced,
‘Silver Joy’ is the album’s sole moment of sparse folk, a beautiful three minutes of just Jurado’s voice, guitar and reverb which somehow fits seamlessly into the hazy and dubby atmospherics that surround. On balance then,
‘Brothers And Sisters Of The Eternal Son’ does more than enough to persuade these ears that the preceding ten albums are worthy of attention and is a mighty fine, summer-laced antidote to those January blues to boot.