Damien Jurado 

Caught in the Trees

A friend thought this sounds like the best album Joseph Arthur ever made, which makes me mad, because I don't have any particular affinity for Mr. Arthur, and wouldn't put him in the same league as Damien Jurado. Really? Is it that mainstream? Shit, I think I'll eat my Chucks and buy a power tie. Maybe I have a genius for finance, and I sure could use the dough.

But do I care what my buddy thinks? Heck no! This may be the most upbeat, rocking record Jurado has ever done, and I mean that in all the best possible ways. Caught in the Trees is the result of collaboration with his bandmates Eric Fisher and Jenna Conrad, although the songwriting is still Jurado through and through, and the balance is thoroughly tipped toward the aggressive instead of the viciously introspective. I almost said sunny, but the words frequently belie the mood. As a whole, this is incredibly good news, because, as great as Jurado is at navel gazing, his rockers have always been as good as anything around, balancing his spooky side with an edgy energy you might associate with Pavement or something.

Apparently, this is the longest Jurado has ever spent on any album, but that's completely immaterial, as it sounds like a well-seasoned band hitting the studio and laying it down. Lyrically, Jurado still doesn't pull any punches: We all came to applaud, but the ghost said you had long checked out, so mopey dopeys need not despair that Jurado's meds are working a little too well, or whatever is going on. You just need to be ready to rock a little more with your melancholy selves. (Secretly Canadian)

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