“Play on, there’s no such thing as better days,” Damien Jurado sings on “Roger,” the sweeping wash of a song that opens Reggae Film Star, his 18th full length album and second release from Jurado’s own Maraqopa Records label. But as he enters his 25th year as a recording artist, it’s clear these are, at the least, very good days for Jurado on the creative front. In these 12 songs, which evoke half-recalled dreams and overheard conversations, the cosmic rushes headlong into the autobiographical and specific moments on the clock fade from past to future to scenes set only in the eternal now.
Playing out like a backlot documentary filmed on the location of an unnamed TV or film set—maybe a sitcom taping, or perhaps it’s a low budget science fiction B-movie, or could it be a talk show?—the album is populated by performers awaiting call times, camera operators praying for their shot, and studio audiences rapt with anticipation. The stars here eschew glitz and glamor. Instead, they wander grocery stores and parking lots in the verdant Pacific Northwest and the desert Southwest, looking for payphones and a sense of purpose.