David Bazan + Passenger String Quartet, ‘Volume 1’ (Bazan)
More than two years after they first started collaborating, David Bazan and the Passenger String Quartet have released their first collection of songs together. “Volume 1” is an elegiacal, beautiful album with a title that suggests maybe, if we’re lucky, this is just the beginning of a long partnership.
Fans hoping for new material shouldn’t be deterred by the fact “Volume 1” instead features 10 songs spanning Bazan’s career with Pedro the Lion, Headphones and his two recent solo albums. Bazan trades in the DIY indie-rock sound of songs like “The Fleecing,” off Pedro the Lion’s “Achilles’ Heel,” for propulsive, stately strings led by Andrew Joslyn that put the focus squarely on Bazan’s gruff, acerbic observations to striking effect.
Aging has changed Bazan’s take on “When They Really Get to Know You They Will Run.” He uses the imperfections in his voice to add world-weary wisdom to the line, “Husbands in winter, we know the truth but what can we do?” His partners in crime supply a cheerful counterbalance that drives the song forward. It’s a formula that works and leaves you pining for “Volume 2.”
Other new releases
George Strait, “Cowboy Rides Away: Live From AT&T Stadium” (Universal Nashville)
The Bad Things, “After the Inferno” (Silent City)
Ann Hampton Callaway, “From Sassy to Divine: Sarah Vaughan Project” (Shanachie)