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Record Review


For every folkie, there's a hard-rocking foil. Neil Young had his Crazy Horse, and now sullen Seattleite Damien Jurado has his Gathered in Song. With the help of guitarist Eric Fisher, drummer Andy Myers and bassist Josh Golden, Jurado has gone from a grumble to a roar on his fourth album, I Break Chairs.

Jurado wastes no time knocking the dust out of the speakers with the lead-off "Paperwings," a buzz-swept roots rocker the likes of which Son Volt's Jay Farrar has been trying to rewrite since Trace. The aggressive "Paperwings" -- with its intentional broken notes and (it's safe to assume) unintentional broken strings -- is the kind of song that demands repeated listening. That is followed up by the heavily distorted, equally stomping "Dancing."

But Jurado is driven -- not simply overdriven. Produced by tour mate David "Pedro The Lion" Bazan, I Break Chairs pours the singer's haunting howl into several melodic molds. The album bubbles with the Teenage Fanclub-like power-pop of "Big Deal" and "The Way You Look," chimes through the almost atonal reverberations of "Castles," and rolls along to the good-timey Springsteen-meets-Ric-Ocasek rebelliousness of "Like Titanic." Everything may not always sit well emotionally with Jurado. But on I Break Chairs, he's sitting pretty.

Damien Jurado plays the Echo Lounge Sat., May 11.

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