Damien Jurado's evolution from emo-rocker to field-music recorder to stripped-down folk singer was probably the only way that he could have created the kind of stark simplicity found on his last two albums. But within this minimalist approach, the Seattle songsmith manages to inject a very genuine sense of urgency into his music without coming off as melodramatic or sappy. "Caskets," from last year's fabulous Caught in the Trees, is brimming with dark, old-timey eeriness and gritty electric guitar, but at the same time bounces along with a sing-songy melody and flourishes of twinkling bells. "Last Rights," in contrast, is grounded by a gentle finger-picked acoustic pulse that is the only thing preventing its wispy female harmonies and weightless cello vibrato from simply floating away.
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