Damien Jurado

Just in Time for Something
(Secretly Canadian)

If you didn't know otherwise while listening to this spellbinding EP, you might swear it's a recently unearthed Alan Lomax field recording from the 1930s rather than the product of a contemporary alt-folk singer-songwriter. Seattleite Jurado generates that no-fi vibe through the use of "salvaged" reel-to-reel tape (in all its wobbly glory) and the intimate, live nature of the session: It sounds as if it was done in one take in a dingy shack beneath Pacific Northwest pines, and you can hear the chair creak while Jurado picks and strums (and briefly re-tunes) his acoustic guitar through five sparse, haunting numbers. The approach feels completely natural rather than gimmicky, and, vintage recording techniques aside, Jurado's songs are as timeless as they are instantly captivating. "Motion Sickness" and "Night Out for the Downer" are glimpses into lives filled with the perennial afflictions of heartbreak, longing and strife, yet there's uplift amid all that melancholy. Clocking in at just under 11 minutes, Just in Time for Something is an unassuming little treasure from an immensely gifted storyteller.

 
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