Saint Bartlett


Generally favorable reviews - based on 15 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 15
  2. Negative: 0 out of 15
  1. Blasts of feedback and other dissonant elements crop up at points, but otherwise this is an album of focused calm in both singing and playing, a vision of concern and empathy amid unease.
  2. Clearly, the reduction in volume and scale has lead to fantastic musical growth--a fine, accomplished and emotional album that ranks among his very best.
  3. Jurado may not be as concrete or direct as he has been in the past, but his ability to conjure emotion is still very, very strong.
  4. Jurado is still ultimately concerned with tales of transience and woe, but he and Swift temper Saint Bartlett with such rich benevolence--from the generous, autumnal arrangements to its thoughtful, crafted lyrics--it is impossible not to be heartened by the whole affair.
  5. Q Magazine
    Downtempo triumph from Seattle indie journeyman. [July 2010, p. 135]
  6. Mostly, though, Jurado claims ownership of Saint Bartlett's achievements simply by turning in his strongest songwriting to date.
  7. Much of Saint Bartlett would be a thrill, were the melodies and arrangements as bold as the words. Some days, Jurado's gift for understatement gets the best of him.
  8. Saint Bartlett, Jurado's ninth album and a perfect place to start for the uninitiated, succeeds mostly because it seems to attempt nothing in particular.
  9. Saint Bartlett won't change the opinion of anyone who's already had his or her mind made up on Damien Jurado, but for those awaiting a welcome fork in the road, the record more than satisfies.
  10. But for all the sonic changes and glimmers of hope, the best stuff here still sounds like boilerplate Jurado. Swift's production is at its best when it adds subtle atmospherics to the fragile melody of "Kansas City," or the dusty flourishes to the chorus of "Harborview."
  11. Under The Radar
    The result is a slightly uneven yet undeniably affecting record with a handful of jaw-droppingly beautiful pieces. [Spring 2010, p.63]
  12. With its blend of classic Jurado themes and a new sonic palette, Saint Bartlett serves not just as an encapsulation of Jurado's career, but as a promising indicator of where he's headed.
  13. The sound is quintessentially opiate--almost sleep-inducing--and upon writing that, it should be clarified as a compliment, kind of like falling asleep to NPR: It gives good information, but the undertones and lush notes can lull you to dreams.

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