Reviewed – Damien Jurado – Alice Hyatt

Rating – 1/5

Damien Jurado brings us the second single from his upcoming new album “What’s New, Tomboy?” in the shape of “Alice Hyatt” It’s Damien’s second album for the label Look but it’s the culmination of over 25 years in music. His signature is paired down, simply melodic music and Alice Hyatt is no exception.

The song is a deeply cryptic conversation, followed by a description of a group of people, possibly playing charades. There are only 2 minutes and 42 seconds of the song and it does no unpacking of any of the potential meaning, within the course of this track anyway. Perhaps there’s more to it in the rest of the album.

There is the equally cryptic chorus “There are things there are people” which gets repeated then “Walk on By” which also gets repeated. To end the song we also get added on “Leave it Be” which also gets repeated. It comes off like someone who goes to a bar and orders a beer. Not bothering to specify one of the 22 on offer. It smacks of lazy writing. Things and People. Yeah, thanks, Damien.

Vocally Damien’s style is low key, quiet and softly spoken. It does occasionally go slightly smoky and shows a hint of character but it disappears quite quickly. The pace maintains throughout and its base is essentially one simple melody which slightly lifts itself at the end.

There’s not very much to get into across the song as a whole. Lyrically it closes itself off in its mystery, musically there’s very little to grab the attention and as a whole, it passes by far too quickly to elaborate in either sense.

If this as a single is representative of the album as a whole then it engenders little in the way of excitement or interest. If there are hidden gems on the album that haven’t been released as a single then this isn’t the greatest decision of all time from the artist or the label.

If you could see where the song was going or what it was trying to say then there might be more depth there but it comes off like someone mumbling some lines that aren’t in any way linked together as a coherent song while they have a bit of a jam.

It would be good to say something more about the track as a whole but it’s shorter than this review so the source material is lacking, as is the musicianship, vocal ability, and lyrical depth.

Also, for the curious, Alice Hyatt isn’t mentioned as any of the protagonists in the song. There’s a Linda, a Michael and a Susan. Oh and presumably a Damien. No idea who Alice Hyatt is, what an Alice Hyatt is, or why the song has her name as the title.

Review by James Clinch

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