Sunday, August 30, 2009

David Bazan - Curse Your Branches

The lyrics of David Bazan’s first solo album under his own name read like a personal guide to his conflicts with the Christian faith. He starts at the very beginning, opening the album with “Hard to Be,” a song that doubts the validity of the story of Adam and Eve. Bazan seems to reach up to the heavens for answers with graceful piano and swelling synthesizer, questioning what he has grown up believing while hoping to understand the truth. He reveals deep fears – wayward traditions of the church, alienating his family – as pedal steel guitar swirls around crunchy synthesizers and sweetly strummed guitar. Musically, “Please, Baby, Please” sounds like a digitally cleaned-up version of Neutral Milk Hotel with vocals comparable to Okkervil River’s Will Sheff. What makes the album a stand-out, though, is the Seattle-based musician’s ability to craft his self doubt and personal struggles into poetic prose. Taking a deep, concentrated listen to Curse Your Branches could move you to tears, regardless of your religious standing. The turmoil in Bazan’s voice, the honesty in his lyrics, and the musical craft here make this album a must-hear. Everyone has doubts; Bazan spins his into art.

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