Damien Jurado has the musical baggage for a future of protracted mid-life crises, as he's known in various circles as an ex-Christian rocker, ex-emo balladeer, ex-cassette wunderkind, and an ex-found sound and feedback freak. But on the just-released Caught in the Trees, the 35-year-old Seattleite sees through his dour honesty for the pop craft on the other side of self-loathing. He nudges up the guitars and lets the rhythm section chug and churn toward a kind of de-glammed T-Rex release. "You must remove the skin and burn it all for fuel," he sings on "Caskets," with the rhythms urging him out of the dark. Handclaps, harmonies, piano rolls and guitar jangle aren't the sounds he's best known for, but they free up his existential predicaments long enough for his tunes to breathe through the brooding.
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