Friday, March 25, 2011
David Bazan - Strange Negotiations
David Bazan spent the better part of Curse Your Branches, the album that precedes Strange Negotiations, struggling with his conflicted feelings over Christianity. Whereas the music on Curse feels secondary to the lyrical content, his latest is a turn in the other direction. Biting guitars are much more direct here, and each song feels more like its own individual narrative. Bazan is still overcoming hardships every step of the way, whether it’s “feeling like a stranger” in his hometown on the title track or dealing with phony people in the rage-addled “People.” But he minimizes the glitchy electronics we heard on Curse for straightforward rockers. Simple riffs and lines like “you’re a goddamn fool, and I love you” bring a punch to the album opener, “Wolves at the Door.” It flows right into “Level With Yourself,” which might as well be a continuation of the first song. The middle of Strange Negotiations sinks into a contemplative lull with the slow-building, nostalgic “Virginia,” where the brushed drums come in almost two minutes into the song. It’s these quiet moments that demonstrate what the Seattle-based musician does best—paint a specific picture with words that put you inside his memories and minimalist melodies that tie them all together.