David Bazan is playing in people's living rooms again. He does this a lot. He picks up and drives around a few hundred square miles of the US, stopping off in his fans' apartments as he goes, playing delicate acoustic shows to the couple dozen people who sit on the carpets at his feet. You'd be forgiven for thinking that there's a parallel between Bazan's upbringing in the church and his current touring format; it's all very New Testament. But beyond that disciple instinct, the former Pedro the Lion auteur is also uniquely cut out for all this as a performer.
His new single, "The Ballad of Pedro y Blanco," is a clear example. Like the rest of his forthcoming fifth solo album Care, it's entirely synth-driven, all glitches bright arpeggiated sparkles. But Bazan's baritone is steady, so close to the front of the mix that you forget about the backdrop entirely. He could have played the track on an acoustic guitar, an 808, a grand piano, or a set of tuned garbage cans; you'd still be fixed on Bazan's narrative arc and stoic, soft delivery.
Lyrically, Bazan is at his sharpest, telling a two peoples' life stories over five verses: "Pair off with the one you like the best," "Look out here come two little ones," "in love and the money's alright." He doesn't shirk from the tragedy at the end, either. It's sweet and succinct with nothing left in without purpose.
We asked Bazan about the track and he responded with this quote from the Coen Brothers' 1987 movie Raising Arizona, starring Nicholas Cage.
"And this was cloudier cause it was years, years away. But I saw an old couple being visited by their children, and all their grandchildren too. The old couple weren't screwed up. And neither were their kids or their grandkids. And I don't know. You tell me. This whole dream, was it wishful thinking? Was I just fleeing reality like I know I'm liable to do?" -H.I. McDunnough, Raising Arizona
Listen to "The Ballad of Pedro y Blanco" below.
Lead photo by Ryan Russel via PR.
Follow Noisey on Twitter.