Idol Chatter

It’s been a pretty amazing year so far in terms of indie music with a distinct spiritual flavor, if you ask me. I have already raved about Sam Phillips, Ashley Cleveland, Aaron Strumpel and Bruce Cockburn’s new releases this year and now I can add David Bazan’s latest effort , “Curse Your Branches”, to my list of musical discoveries.
Bazan is best known for his time spent with Seattle indie band Pedro the Lion, a group which got as much press for their break several years ago as it did for anything else.Branch went on a self-admitted alcohol binge and subsequently proclaimed he no longer believed in God and was leaving his Christian faith behind. Despite such protestations, Bazan has turned up in recent months at places like the Cornerstone Music Festival sharing his pain and doubt as he continues to wrestle with the question of God.

Listening to “Curse Your Branches,” I can understand why certain more open-minded Christian venues would still welcome Bazan. “Branches” is filled with the pain of a man who doesn’t like God very much, hates religion, wants to reject God, but ultimately can’t quite seem to do it.For some, that makes “Branches” very uncomfortable listening indeed. For others, he is presenting a thoughtfuf, intelligent challenge to not take modern day evangelicalism at face value anymore.
I think there is so much Christian music out there that plays with doubt as a hip artistic device but there isn’t a false moment on “Branches.” When Bazan sings “I ‘ve clung to miracles I have not seen/From ancient signatures I cannot read/ Though I’ve repented I’m still tempted I admit/ But it’s not what bearing witness is” the fear as well as the desire to encounter truth is there in every word.
So if you like your faith shaken, not gently stirred, I dare you to listen to “Branches.” Brazen’s transparent look at faith might even help you grow deeper roots for your own.

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