Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

David Bazan: Curse Your Branches [Barsuk, 2009]
Long criticized for the newly minted sin of doubt by born-again Pedro the Lion fans as obsessed with purity as their secular indie-rock brethren and sistern, the former Christian artist takes his faith seriously enough to embrace skepticism straight up. Plodding for clarity's sake like he's gotten the gospel from James McMurtry, he debates a God he's no longer sure exists as he details the suffering he's pondered, observed, and caused. His salvation is humanistic empathy, spiritual complexity, and melodies more unfailing than back when the Holy Ghost was inspiring into his ear. Credo: "It's hard to be, it's hard to be, hard to be a decent human being." A-