Until this year, Damien Jurado had never surpassed the power of his Ghost of David (2000). That album, with a title that referred to Jurado’s friend David Bazan (of Pedro the Lion), was a chronicle of deeply troubled characters whose only comfort was the title song’s promise that “life is short but love is eternal”. Maraqopa (Jurado’s second album produced by Richard Swift) is more lyrical and musically expansive when compared to Ghost of David. The album also finds the singer once again intersecting with Bazan, but this time philosophically rather than referentially. While Bazan has gained a considerable amount of attention in the past few years for resolutely walking away from Christianity, Jurado’s music seems to be increasingly focused on an examination of lasting faith. Maraqopa was inspired by a dream about a rock star that decides to disappear and ends up in a small town that promises him the answers he seeks. Only at the moment of death does he realize the purpose of life. Maraqopa‘s ten songs use that narrative as a springboard for exploring humans’ search for purpose. In “Working Titles”, Jurado sings “I have questions that will lead to more questions.” It’s that very search for knowledge and deliverance that makes the album feel so alive. —Thomas Britt
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