Strange Negotiations Image
Metascore
72

Generally favorable reviews - based on 9 Critics What's this?

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7.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 6 Ratings

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  • Summary: The Seattle-based indie singer-songwriter and former lead singer of Pedro the Lion, releases his second solo album.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 9
  2. Negative: 0 out of 9
  1. May 16, 2011
    80
    The instrumentation and arrangements on Strange negotiations bring out the subtleties in Bazan's ever-evolving songwriting style. [Jun 2011, p.106]
  2. 80
    Like John Henry, Strange Negotiations is workman-like. It's a grind from start to finish, but an enjoyable one at that.
  3. Jun 6, 2011
    80
    It's clear that Strange Negotiations is not a wholly secular piece, but Bazan is clearly moving in that direction.
  4. Strange Negotiations may take some time to grow on even the most die-hard of Bazan's fans, but the roots of its few standouts run deep with repeated listens.
  5. Dec 9, 2011
    70
    Losing his religion doesn't mean he's lost his gift for indie rock songwriting, though, and fans who're willing to indulge Bazan's soul-searching will find Strange Negotiations similar to Pedro the Lion's catalog, with a familiar mix of minor-key starkness and lush, guitar-fueled rock songs.
  6. May 16, 2011
    70
    With Bazan's husky baritone, Strange Negotiations suggests an Americana vet like John Hiatt more than an indie lifer. But the change serves him well on "Eating Paper," which works simple wonders with a chunky guitar riff and a steady cowbell, just as the Lord intended.
  7. Jun 1, 2011
    50
    He's a hard worker and you can hear it in his music. Granted, that's sometimes all you can hear, but even solid craftsmanship has its rewards.

See all 9 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 2
  2. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. May 24, 2011
    9
    David Bazan has spent his entire career trying to connect his listeners to real life: the pain of loss, the confusion/wrestle/loss of faith, the shame of failure, the grueling task of being human, the arduous joy of love, and the profound hope that binds it all together.

    Strange Negotiations finds Bazan no closer to any ultimate answers to these conundrums but rather resigned to the mystery and determined to call out the hypocrisy that props up oppressive systems even while identifying the same traits within himself.

    Overall this album is an amalgamation of Bazan's styles - The pulsating fuzz of Control, The underlying spirit of fun on Achilles Heel, the deep questioning in Curse Your Branches and Winners Never Quit with the penetrating hope of It's Hard To Find A Friend. And there is more than enough synth to keep fans of Headphones listening.

    For me personally, having had this album for a few weeks now, Strange Negotiations has surpassed Curse Your Branches and is in the realm of my favorite Bazan/Pedro album: It's Hard To Find A Friend.

    One tip: Repeated listenings will reap many rewards.
    My one criticism: At 40 minutes, this LP is a little on the short side for my tastes.

    9/10 - Keep rocking, Dave!
    Expand
  2. Jun 23, 2011
    4
    David Bazan has always walked the line of minimalism. There was a stripped down beauty to the old Pedro the Lion songs. There are sparks of what used to be here and there with Strange Negotiations but I feel like each new album he releases is further from capturing that simplified genius. What's left just puts me to sleep. Expand