David Bazan Credit: Ryan Russell

At 41, Seattle singer-songwriter David Bazan is still searching for his life’s best path. In March he self-released his fourth solo album, Care, on which uncharacteristic synth-heavy music aids his quest to explore parts unknown—or at least helps him understand his journey as a songwriter in a different light. Care follows last year’s Blanco, Bazan’s first solo full-length largely made with electronic instruments; the artist also had a brief tenure leading the lo-fi synth-pop project Headphones, which occupies a special place in the cult of Bazan. This new collection feels more insular and chilly, as if he wrote it while trying to find his way out of an uncharted cave with only the help of a single lantern. But as much as his lonesome coo can inflict a deep sense of sorrow, he’s the kind of emotionally intelligent musician whose performances are ambiguous enough to allow his listeners to make what they will of them—“Make Music” has a morbidly realistic take on how relationships crumble under the weight of adulthood, yet Bazan’s portrait is lit up by memories of young love that can sometimes be strong enough to right the ship.   v