April 20, 2004
PEDRO THE LION [I]ACHILLES HEEL[/I] REVIEW
“Bands with managers are going places, bands with messy hair and smooth white faces,” croons David Bazan on the opener of his latest album as Pedro The Lion. This is not to say that bearded and close-cropped Bazan is going nowhere: In fact, the most recent incarnation of Pedro finds him moving forward, happily collabo-rating with his friend T.W. Walsh on an album that is somewhat more contem-plative and mellow than 2000’s Winners Never Quit and more accessi-ble than 2002’s dark Control. Achilles’ Heel sets a mood of exuberant melan-choly similar to that of Bazan’s solo live shows. These songs are also some of his most personal writing yet, in that they flesh out musical ideas absent from previous albums. Anchored by Walsh’s instrumen-tation, Bazan creates songs full of character and life. For example, the aggressive harmonies of “Keep Swinging” stand out and force listeners out of the easy lull of Pedro’s sound. Unfettered by the heav-iness of another concept album, Bazan manages to express his joy in songwriting through the music; even while he sings laments about relationships and the state of modern lives, the instrumental themes are upbeat and somehow eager. Like a good anthropologist, Bazan looks unflinchingly at his subjects and then takes listeners to them— they’re going places together.
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