Psychedelic Rock, Alternative
Writing reviews for albums like Damien Jurado’s Visions Of Us On The Land often seems dubious for the writer because it feels like writing a part of a story is never a full representation of the entire project or message of the creator. Though it must be done, it certainly feels like reviewing one panel of a three or more paneled art exhibit. In this instance, Damien Jurado is releasing his third and final installment of a trilogy after Maraqopa and Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son, respectively.
The overarching story that binds these three installments is about a Walden-like character that needs to escape society in order to learn some truths about himself and his place in the world. In other words, something probably a lot of us have thought about on a particularly rough day at work or breakage in an emotionally charged relationship.
We often idolize these characters because we secretly want to do the same thing. Kerouac comes to mind. In film, there’s Reese Witherspoon’s recent, “Wild,” and in music there’s Bon Iver’s much lauded For Emma, Forever Ago.
Throughout Jurado’s trilogy, including Visions, the guitars jumble like a 70’s rock album ala Jefferson Airplane or The Who. In fact, the album sounds like several differing decades of music have coalesced under Jurado’s direction. The strings and keyboards sound like they’re picked from the scores of old western films. The rhythm section feels like walking into a prayer circle run by Fleet Foxes. There’s a spirit flowing through the pounding of tracks like “Mellow Blue Polka Dot.”
Perhaps best of all on the album is the single “Exit 353,” which happens to have a fantastically moving video that pairs with the track. The entire album has the same 70’s psychedelic, spiritual rock vibe, but “Exit 353” seems to do it better than any of the other songs.
There’s something about living on the road, the forest, or the mountains. Maybe it’s about never having to pursue responsibility endlessly. One thing is for sure, after listening to this album I realize that a road trip is far more near than realized. We all need moments to contemplate and digest our daily lives. A time to trade the mundane for a piece of sangfroid. It’s a shame peace of mind often follows after brash and impulsive decisions. And yet there’s often a product made from such decisions – introspection or tranquility, a movie, an album. Who knows what lies on the other side?
If this is the first taste of Damien Jurado for new listeners, then this album demands that the other albums be explored. Particularly with the two prior installments to Visions Of Us On The Land. The release date is March 18th, 2016 on Secretly Canadian records.