Damien Jurado: What’s New, Tomboy?

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This is the 15th studio album from singer songwriter Jurado, and it’s a more solid musical offering than we were expecting.

It’s still a fairly stripped-back sound, but it just seems a little more forceful, although we guess Jurado fans buy his albums for the lyrics.

All the songs are about relationships and many of the songs have a person’s name as a title. One of the exceptions is the relatively upbeat opener Birds Tricked Into Trees, about a relationship gone wrong: “It’s about knowing where to say you’re wrong / To get it right all the time / Means it’s over.”

The more enigmatically named Ochoa opens with gently strummed guitar and is a gentle song with suitably dreamy lyrics: “Sun moon flower / I’ll walk you til forever”.

Although songs are often about relationships, some could be fleeting: Alice Hyatt seems based on an overheard conversations, a bit like an artist using found items to create art, the lyrics “It’s only fair to tell you / Linda said to me,” almost too casual to be a Jurado lyric.

Several songs refer to characters living lives that are merely part of a longer story, one referring to sentences being already written, another noting: “We are fiction as it’s written.”

It’s all good but Arthur Aware is perhaps the best, with a muffled kick drum driving it along, ethereal harmony and possibly the best line on the album: “I keep all of my past reflections in glass jars from the corridor.”

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