PopMatters reviews Curse Your Branches, the new album from David Bazan:
From Bob Dylan to Jeremy Enigk, there’s a long tradition of rock and roll songwriters renouncing their wicked ways, finding God and then celebrating their newfound faith in song. Struggles with faith, however, are not nearly as well documented in the rock and roll tradition, especially not in the brutally honest manner that Bazan has chosen here. As personal as his crisis may have been, it’s clear that much of the burden was shared by the devout family who bore witness to his painful conversion — a fact that lends a very real weight to Bazan’s observations throughout the course of the album. David Bazan’s journey from Christian to skeptic clearly wasn’t easy, but in documenting the process in unflinching detail, he has managed to perform that rare form of alchemy in which only the great artists are well versed: he has transformed the ugly into something truly beautiful.
Paste is currently streaming the album in its entirety. I’ve only been able to give the album a cursory listen so far, but there’s no doubt that it’s a sobering and powerful chronicle of Bazan’s struggles with faith, alcoholism, families, and fatherhood.
Related: J. Edward Keyes interviews Bazan for eMusic. It’s a little rough in places, especially when Bazan shares some of the personal stories behind the album’s songs.