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Rhythm & Views

Damien Jurado

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The cello and strings on And Now That I'm in Your Shadow make this perhaps Jurado's most melancholy record--and if you're familiar with Jurado, you know that's saying a lot. His albums range from rock to folk, but Jurado's signature sound is his near-flat, half-raspy voice wavering slightly over a plucked and strummed guitar, the lyrics dredging up the dark mud of the lives of characters who have no home, no love, nowhere to go.

And Now That I'm in Your Shadow is thick with this dark mud, and the strings only make it denser: "Standing with my feet deep in the crowd, was I nothing but a landslide in your mind?" sings Jurado on "Hoquiam" as the violin murmurs in the background. And Now That I'm in Your Shadow is full of songs of sudden isolation and grief: "I Had No Intentions" tells the story of a man finding a boy "killed by a bullet from a jealous gun," and the title track has a cello wail that only makes the line "the sun it does not move me like it used to, and neither do you" all the more devastating.

The electronic beat on "What Were the Chances" immediately reveals it as the only hopeful song, but it's still tinged with drama: "Does your husband know I call you sweetheart?" sings Jurado as a muffled female voice repeats the lyric. If you need a soundtrack for loneliness, all you need is this.

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