Damien Jurado

Saint Bartlett

For his 10th studio album, Seattle-bred singer/songwriter Damien Jurado seems set on proving that you can teach an old dog new tricks. Since signing to Sub Pop in 1999, Jurado has again and again proved himself a deft songsmith, whether riffing on an electric or experimenting with the discarded recordings of others. In recent years, though, it’s been all about returning to his simple folk roots, and Saint Bartlett finds Jurado exploring new ground altogether. With producer Richard Swift at his side, Jurado delves deep for Bartlett and comes back with 12 tracks’ worth of vintage-sounding ruminations on life and its misgivings. Selections range from the super distorted (“Wallingford”) to the Motown-y (“Arkansas”) to the eerily echoic (“Pear”), each resting on their keeper’s vulnerable but conviction-filled charisma. Of special note is the understated sparkler “Rachel & Cali,” during which Jurado’s stream-of-consciousness lyrics mix and mingle among organ and glockenspiels to near perfection.

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