When Beethoven wrote his Ninth Symphony, he saved his show-stopping piece, the “Choral,” until the very end. Seattle indie rocker Damien Jurado and musician/producer Richard Swift have inverted this idea.
They’ve created a grand entrance for Jurado’s latest album Maraqopa with the opening song “Nothing is the News.” The album explodes, like a supernova, with full-on psychedelic sound before settling into nine quieter tracks.
Jurado and Swift specialize in creating lush, layered audioscapes, a trend they established with Saint Bartlett (2010), their first album together. On Maraqopa, they playfully intersperse chimes throughout several of the songs, and utilize different backup singers for choruses and vocal harmonies as they do in “Life Away from the Garden” and “Working Titles.”
There’s such a range of songs and sounds, but there’s always Jurado’s voice and guitar—so sincere, so nostalgic sounding—that make them authentic. It’s in their stripped-down acoustic versions that the songs really shine.
And as on previous albums, Jurado displays his fierce love for Seattle and for his home state of Washington. He sings of evergreens and mountains, and even names one track for the Museum of Flight.
Maraqopa released on Feb. 21 and is available through Secretly Canadian Records.