It's intrinsically difficult to review a holiday album given that it's intended to be listened to for only two months per year. The provenance for David Bazan's began in 2002, while he was still recording as Pedro the Lion. He acceded in his trademark crepuscular timbre, and Suicide Squeeze has now compiled 10 of the 14 tracks released piecemeal over the years.
Former Pedro the Lion frontman David Bazan offers a different take on the holidays with Dark Sacred Night, a gently brooding collection of Christmas carols and assorted covers culled from earlier releases. Bazan's intensity and affinity for dark-toned songcraft has been well-represented in both his solo career and with Pedro, so it makes sense that his Yuletide tracks would represent the less festive side of the season. Culled from a series of holiday singles put out by the Suicide Squeeze label, some of which date as far back as 2002 (and were formerly released under his band's name), the ten tracks on Dark Sacred Night were remixed and remastered into one of 2016's more peculiar and certainly more downcast Christmas albums.
Don't be misled — this is not the album to listen to while finishing your Christmas baking or while trimming the tree. This isn't Burl Ives, nor is it Nat King Cole. This is Seattle native David Bazan, and with his experiences, you can bet on a provocative and inspiring, if at times dark and solemn, collection of songs, Christmas album or not. Bazan describes the impetus for the songs as follows: "There is something dark and underrepresented in Christmas music, and that's just how uncomfortable the holidays can be for a lot of folks."Dark Sacred Night is a compilation of Christmas-themed music plucked from Bazan's time with Christian rock/indie outfit Pedro the Lion as well as from his various solo forays.