Review : David Bazan - Curse Your Branches
LatimesblogsOn the first full-length he's released under his name, David Bazan describes his recent struggles with faith and addiction in language that makes it clear how far he's traveled since dissolving Pedro the Lion in 2005.
Bazan built an intensely devoted following inside the Christian community during his decade-long run with Pedro, asking tough questions of religion from the perspective of a thoughtful believer. Here, though, the doubt that Bazan has always scratched at takes a firmer, more certain form: "I clung to miracles I have not seen," he admits in "Bearing Witness," "From ancient autographs I cannot read."
The past tense there is crucial: "Curse Your Branches" documents Bazan's coming to terms with his newfound agnosticism, a change of heart he credits in "When We Fell" to his inability to accept "the threat of hell hanging over my head like a halo." ("In what medieval kingdom does justice work this way?" he wonders later in that song.)...full text
Popmatters“I’m not sure if you know this, but my relationship with Christ has changed pretty dramatically in the last few years.” That’s how David Bazan greeted former publicist Jessica Hopper upon seeing her for the first time in half a decade, according to Hopper’s excellent profile of Bazan, which ran recently in the Chicago Reader. This statement, which only hints at the spiritual and existential crisis that consumed Bazan for the better part of five years, serves as an equally appropriate introduction to his latest full-length, Curse Your Branches. Once hailed as Christian indie rock’s great crossover hope, Bazan, a newly minted agnostic, now finds himself estranged from the movement that he once led. Critics, meanwhile, never gave him his proper due, unfairly lumping him in with the emo and Christian rock movements and largely ignoring his non-traditional approach to writing from a Christian perspective. Despite his loyal following, Bazan has spent most of this decade in the wilderness—both personally and professionally....full text
PastemagazinFormer Pedro The Lion frontman abandons character sketches for spiritual reflection
David Bazan used to be a character singer. Each record was like a collection of short stories —take, for example, Winners Never Quit, a concept album about a corrupt politician. Or Control’s “Rapture,” a detailed account of an extramarital affair. Or Achilles Heel’s “Discretion,” the story of a hitman hired by a farmer’s son to kill his father—except the hitman decides to kill the “asshole son” instead.
Ever since establishing himself as a Christian artist, singing “Be Thou My Vision” for captive audiences and performing at the Cornerstone Festival, Bazan has received more faith-related judgment and scorn than almost any other indie artist—as his obsession with badness overshadowed themes of goodness, many of his evangelical fans deserted him. Every curse word, murder tale and sexual image, despite its greater purpose, created more distance between him and much of his original fanbase. But while Bazan’s once-faithful fans were off in a corner somewhere praying for him, his songs were getting more interesting. Back then, his band was called Pedro The Lion. A lot has changed in the last decade....full text
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