Sunday, 19 January 2003

Album Review: Ghost Of David

The third album proper from Seattle resident Jurado, who has previously spellbound listeners with his albums Rehearsals For Departure and Waters Ave S is haunting, miserable and wholly wonderful.

The album starts as it means to go on with Medication. A plea to God to end the life of a brother. It is an example of Jurado at his most tortured. Jurado whispers over a frail guitar, "Lord, do me a favour / It's wrong but I ask you / take me brother's life." It might just be the best song Jurado will ever write. He'll certainly have to go someway to topping it.

Elsewhere, Jurado treats us to not-so-cheery subject matter. Tonight I Will Retire is the confession of someone on the verge of committing suicide. Meanwhile, December is the tale of a man found frozen to death in his car. Not since Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska has an artist written such affecting lyrics and music about such funereal subject matter.

Musically it's a more ambitious album that it's predecessor Rehearsals For Departure (itself one of my favourite albums of recent times). From the bizarre vibrating ruler effect at the beginning of Johnny Go Riding, to the muffled guitar of Great Today, it seems as though Jurado is trying to break free from the entirely acoustic affair that Rehearsals offered. Jurado even gives us his best Sonic Youth impression on Paxil.

It's certainly a contender for the most miserable album of recent years. That is no criticism, this is one of the most affecting albums I have ever heard. Everyone should be made aware of Jurado's awesome talents.

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