Saint Bartlett opens up with a grandiosity yet unheard on a Damien Jurado album. The album
strips away the many layers of paint from the house down the street we know Jurado has
occupied for the last decade. The new coat is exhilarating. It makes the whole neighborhood
shine. It's a modest grandiosity; still homegrown. The mellotron swells, heavenly handclaps ring
in stereo and big drums create a sky for the songs to fly in. And the words.Words spring forth
from within the volcano of Jurado, full of hope. There’s so much hope, in fact, that album
opener “Cloudy Shoes” turns into a call-and-response with himself, as though it were a dialogue
between two halves of himself.
“I wish that I could float up from the ground / I will never know what that's like”
Heavy stuff. Richard Swift’s Spector-esque production is spot-on. He ferries Jurado across the
river, where the metamorphosis occurs. He then ferries him back, and it is through Swift’s lens
that we see Jurado not as a folk singer, but as a mystic — somewhere between Van Morrison,
ScottWalker and Wayne Coyne. Saint Bartlett was made entirely at Swift’s National Freedom
studio in Oregon, in just under a week with only Jurado and Swift as the performers.