It's Hard to Find a Friend was originally released in 1998 by Made in Mexico Records, hailed by Spin as one of the "Best Records You Never Heard" that year. Remixed, remastered and re-released by Jade Tree, the record still shines, perhaps more than ever. On the second song, "The Longer I Lay Here," with its reverb peaks and troughs, taller and deeper than the waves in A Perfect Storm, Bazan smokily oozes: "I would like to be you/Just for a few habit-forming years." On "Big Trucks," a bouncier, almost stream-of-consciousness ramble, he sings of being admonished by his dad for trying to pass tractor trailers in his '87 Trans Am. Lighter songs are rare: The album practically drips with gloom and sadness, like those of Joseph Arthur and Nick Drake. But there's nothing about Bazan that gives you that suicidal vibe. He seems able to be sad without despairing.
Maybe it's the Jesus thing. That's something else surprising about Bazan: He's a Christian, though you'd never guess it, even after repeat listens. Unlike some artists of faith who feel compelled to load up their music with beliefs, Pedro the Lion's approach is decidedly -- thankfully -- lo-fi. In the end, he creates songs that don't alienate anyone, not even the damned.