The Horizon Just Laughed
Rating: 7.5 one-armed workout partners out of 10
The opening song “Allocate” off of this new Damien Jurado record sounds just like “Summer Breeze” by Seals & Crofts. This means “Summer Breeze” gets stuck in my head every time I listen to this record…as opposed to the rest of my life, when that song is just stuck in my head only most of the time. I’m not complaining, for the record – everyone knows “Summer Breeze” is one of the greatest songs of all time by any measure.
I’ve been thinking about this review for a few days now, and I’ve kinda been struggling on what to say about “The Horizon Just Laughed” - other than I like it a lot. It finds Jurado in his usual mellow, pensive mood, but the songs have just-so-slightly shifted from folk to soft rock a lot of the time (he even ends up in full tropicalia on “Marvin Kaplan,” and “Dear Thomas Wolfe” sounds like Lambchop is backing him). The first half of the album is especially strong, some of the best work he’s ever done. It’s also helped that I’ve done all of my listening through headphones…outside of seeing him live in a church-like setting (which I’ve managed a couple of times), it might be the only proper way to ingest his music. I always like the man’s output, but it’s when I get to really sit with the music with limited distractions my feelings bump up from like to love. I suppose this is typically true with the quieter artists, but the point remains.
Damien Jurado has been around a long time, doing more or less the same thing. It would be easy to ignore the work he’s doing – there are certainly records of his I haven’t done due diligence on – but give this one a chance. It really pays off if you let it sit with you.
Oh, and go listen to his song ”Ohio” from a number of years ago – it’s only one of the best songs ever written.