September 01, 2009 - Barsuk
It's been three years since David Bazan released his debut solo EP, Fewer Moving Parts, and even longer since he stopped playing under the name Pedro The Lion. However, those of you still paying attention should know that Bazan is crafting the best music of his career.
Curse Your Branches may not be as instantly satisfying as his previous band's melancholy masterpieces It's Hard To Find A Friend and Control, but it is equally captivating in a completely different way. From the epic, six-minute opener "Hard To Be" to the synthesizer driven "Bless This Mess" (reminiscent of Bazan's defunct electro side project, Headphones) and the stripped down, acoustic "Harmless Sparks" (the sonic equivalent of the Christianity-questioning film Doubt), Curse Your Branches sees Bazan reconciling all of his musical motifs into one cohesive collection of songs.
Lyrically, he revisits the topics of religion and alcoholism, but in a way that isn't preachy or dogmatic; even a love song like "Please, Baby, Please" manages to incorporate a DUI fatality into its storyline. Sure, on paper this may sound bleak-and in many ways, Curse Your Branches is--but ultimately there's a level of solace in Bazan's sadness that's remarkably reassuring and, stranger yet, satisfying.