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Damien Jurado — Rehearsals for Departures (TAPE)

Damien Jurado — Rehearsals for Departures (TAPE)

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NEW Cassette Tape / 2016 Pressing on tape / If you were to take the promising moments from Damien Jurado's first album, Waters Ave. S., and factor in a few years' worth of maturity, it still wouldn't add up to this spectacular achievement. The Evergreen State's self-tagged "urban folksinger" has sharpened his songwriting skills and streamlined his musical attack. Simple, finger-picked acoustic guitar graces most of the tracks and when matched with Jurado's nasal whine (which shares a few adenoids with Freedy Johnston) creates a genuine emotional intensity. "Ohio" is the perfectly shaped tale of a girl abducted from her mother and made to live with her father in a faraway city. The lament is perfectly underpinned by the harmonica of Richard Smokovich, who also adds an extra-rough ferocity to the complete-band numbers ("Honey Baby," "Letters & Drawings"). The Posies' Ken Stringfellow produces and adds a full complement of instruments, ranging from guitar, organ, and piano to mellotron and concertina. One of the year's best, for sure.

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