Given the track record of Seattle singer-songwriter Damien Jurado, ahead of actually making yourself listen to an expected reeling of what they like to call ‘heart-wrenching’ lyrics, Maraqopa doesn’t exactly tick the boxes of what we pre-conceive to be an album worthy of a listen. This is the guy who released an album ridden with old answering machine messages. Interesting?…or just frankly foolish? Yet considering Jurado’s recent productive collaborations with label-mate Richard Swift, really, we should have known better. Maraqopa’s haunting and perplexing audacity hits us right from seeing its cover-art, and yet on first glance we didn’t actually believe that it would be so apt.

The disorientating desert blues of opening track ‘Nothing Is The News’ plunges into a swirl of soulful guitar as distant vocals wane amongst the chaotic layers of haziness. We’re lost nonetheless, and in the best way possible. Jurado and Swift’s exciting productive combination posts hints at Jurado’s deep and bluesy voice between sudden schizophrenic percussive twinges. Two tracks in and we’re close to derangement. The spine tingling animosity of ‘Life Away From The Garden’ haunts us as the sounds of a children’s choir echo Jurado’s already disturbing drones.

The cautious production of Maraqopa sets a dizzying chill with its distant percussion and screeching strings. Even reassuring tracks such as lovingly pleaded ‘So, On Nevada’ seem cleverly integrated, and amazingly don’t feel at all out of place next to the previously contrasting detachment. It’s more than beautiful.

Maraqopa's progression towards its concluding sense of romanticism is tear-worthy. We’re even so drawn in by Jurado’s voice at this point that ‘Museum of Flight’s soppy and passé lyrics; "I’m so broke and foolishly in love" fail to sicken. We want to wake ourselves up on second listen, and realise that such cringing did in fact happen first time round, but in truth, Jurado’s moving album can’t help but charm even the heartless.

So there may be the usual clutter-tracks, the ones that will always be skipped, but when Jurado gets it, he gets it spot on, and we can’t ignore his knack for audibly expressing the beauty of sadness, even if we’d hate to call ourselves mawkish in doing so.