David Bazan- Strange Negotations (2011)

Posted: June 10, 2011 by Is This Revolutionary? in Album, Reviews
Tags: , ,

Sitting here, eyes burning from my lovely girlfriend cooking dinner behind me, my hands move almost automatically to put on Bazan’s albums these days. His new album, Strange Negotiations, is absolutely no exception to my near-damaging addiction to his hearty voice and tearing lyrics. I feel that when talking about his records it’s necessary to break them all into two major criteria: lyrics and musicality.

Lyrically, this album still has the unbearable personal punches we’ve all grown to love him for. David Bazan, more than nearly any songwriter in existence, has the incredible ability to write a line that works it’s way so far into your chest that you feel it swimming around for months- maybe years- to come. Although I do, for a moment have to mount my fanboy horse and say that I don’t think it has quite the inner scope and force that Curse Your Branches did, I would never call it a let-down by any means. It just feels different- less self directed and much more outwardly projected. None-the-less, from a songwriting position, still an unbelievable record capable of chewing your guts up and spitting them out all over your sheets and making you sleep in them.

To me, where this album really strikes hard is it’s musicality. To explain, let me digress. The first time I heard Curse Your Branches, I was blown away by the songwriting, but I wondered how he’d pull it off live, considering most of the album consisted of keyboards and studio magic. But after watching some live videos of him with a full band playing songs from it, I can see that he had gone back and effectively had to rewrite all of his material to suit the band. This album, as far as I see it, was written with the intention of being played live. Most of the songs are made up of simple drum parts, pretty integral bass lines, Bazan’s strange rhythm guitar and some pretty dreamy pedal work by his lead guitarist which all ends up sounding a bit like Pedro The Lion if the other members were significantly more talented musicians (which is in hindsight exactly what this album is).

So if you are a die-hard Pedro The Lion fan, someone who likes getting their heart broken, a songwriter looking to take notes from one of the absolute masters of the craft, or just a normal guy or gal looking to cry for a couple of weeks, this record is absolutely for you. Even if it isn’t, you should probably give him your money and your ears for forty minutes, he deserves it. And while you’re at it, go see him on his most recent tour. Find me at the NYC show and tell me how terrible my review was. I’ll buy you a beer.

See you there,

S.

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