Damien Jurado’s last album was a game changer. Having spent 15 years churning out folk/folk-rock albums that were sometimes excellent, but otherwise showed little sign of progression, Saint Bartlett saw Jurado explore new depths of style and production, harnessing a bit of reverb and a set of strings to great effect. Maraqopa proves it was no fluke. Opening misstep Nothing In The News aside, this continues in the slick vein of its predecessor.
Whereas the opener morphs, ridiculously, into an excessive 70s superjam, the rest of the album is sparse, tidy and perfectly formed. Richard Swift remains at the mixing desk and shows again that he knows how to get the best from Jurado’s simple, plaintive melodies. The superb Life Away From The Garden, complete with a glorious call-and-response and the gorgeous Everyone A Star are the standout tracks on the latest installment of Damien Jurado’s second wind. Long may it continue.