Veteran Seattle moderate rocker Damien Jurado teams up with Gathered in Song for his fourth full-length album I Break Chairs. A little country, a little rock ‘n’ roll, I Break Chairs is a solid collection of guitar-driven northeastern angst.
Supporting Jurado with drums, bass and extra guitar, Gathered in Song adds chunky-thick energy to Damien’s mournful, story-time folk lyrics. “Paperwings,” a razzle-dazzle guitar rock song intros the album, then Jurado and Gathered in Song start in on a booming, cymbal-crashing “Dancing” that transitions to a mellow folk chorus backed by big-ass power chords.
I Break Chairs slows down for radio-friendly ballads like “Inevitable” and “Air Show Disaster,” which features the melodic chorus, “It’s another nice day for an air show disaster.”
Jurado’s advanced chord progressions and skills as a lyricist shine on “Never Ending Tide.” His low voice accompanies arpeggio-picking guitar work and synth drumbeats that wash the listener away. The tinkling bells on “Like Titanic” reference old Radiohead while the lyrics “I have many problems and fear I can’t ignore / I don’t know the meaning of self-destruction” juxtapose with the upbeat melody.
Jurado returns to crunchy walls of guitar and rock beats for the end of I Break Chairs and balances out the album’s middle musing. Jurado’s folky mourning on the final song “Lose My Head” tempers the pounding drums and guitar, providing a full body of sound with that distinctly dark, Seattle rain-drenched bitterness. A tasty cocktail, indeed.