Pedro the Lion

In the past, Pedro The Lion frontman David Bazan knew exactly how a song would start and end.

But in sitting down to write songs for his new album, "Achilles Heel," he let the songs take their own direction.

"I used to sort of decide what a song was going to be about as I started to write it," Bazan said. "I am really trying not to do that any more. It was just so enjoyable to write these open-ended songs that I’m still learning about now. People ask me what a certain song means and I won’t know. And then I will think about it and sort of see things in it that I never could have intended, but are certainly there."

Pedro The Lion will perform Monday and Tuesday at The Abbey, 3420 W. Grace St., Chicago.

John Vanderslice also is on the bill. The shows start at 8 p.m. each night. Tickets are $12 in advance, and $14 at the door. They are available by calling (866) 468-3401.

"Achilles Heel" is finding critical and commercial success. The album jumped to No. 24 on the Billboard independent label chart and No. 8 on the CMJ Top 200 chart during its first week of sales in May.

That surprised Bazan.

"We didn’t know what to expect really," Bazan said. "We just made it and liked it, and thought we would tour and promote it."

Bazan enjoyed the open-ended approach he took in making "Achilles Heel."

"It made the process so much more about discovery than it ever had been," Bazan said. "And that was really enjoyable. I loved it."

Bazan believes "Achilles Heel" is his best album to date.

"But I don’t think of it as a definitive, ‘Finally, I’ve made the record I’ve been wanting to make kind of thing,’" Bazan said. "It’s more that I feel it’s a really great step in the right direction."

Bazan has developed a reputation of making thought-provoking music. But he tries not to think of his audience when he sits down to write a song.

"I think it’s more just trying to make something that I like, that I am satisfied with and that I think is compelling," Bazan said. "Whatever happens from there is fine."

His music has become popular with Christian music fans. But Bazan does not consider himself a Christian artist.

"It’s difficult to even say whether I consider myself a Christian, so I certainly wouldn’t say I am a Christian artist," Bazan said. "That has a lot of implications that I just don’t feel are true about Pedro The Lion. The implications that come along with that just don’t apply."

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