May 27, 2004
PEDRO THE LION SINGER/SONGWRITER DAVID BAZAN FINDS HIS INNER EVAN DANDO
Breakout success has eluded Pedro the Lion, since its original five-piece inception in 1997.
After disbanding following its first release, the band became the confessional instrument for David Bazan’s sharp assessment of life.
Following several critically acclaimed releases, Pedro the Lion carried the arduous banner as “one of the best bands you haven’t heard.”
The eluded limelight could at last shine vibrantly on Bazan following the release of Achilles Heel.
Finding his inner (Evan) Dando, Bazan has veered away from the concept narrative found in previous releases in exchange for straight-ahead melody and unsophisticated production.
“We just wrote a bunch of songs that weren’t necessarily related,” Bazan said. “I prefer this process. There are still themes on this record, but it is much more freeing to write this way. Before it was like trying to put together a giant jigsaw puzzle.
“This was more of a band effort compared to Control and Winner,” Bazan added. “I didn’t play everything on it. It’s just three guys playing music.”
Recorded in over a month’s time at his home studio in Washington, Bazan along with longtime collaborator TW Walsh and (Ester Drag’s) Jame McAlister completed an unpretentious assortment of pop music not heard in radio playlists since the days of the Lemonheads and Teenage Fanclub.
“All the songs came out that way (pop),” Bazan said. “I wrote most of them by myself and ran them through with the band. It’s funny. Recently we’ve been hearing the Lemonheads quite a bit, but we weren’t hearing them while recording the record.”
From the start, Pedro the Lion has been branded with the category of â€˜Christian Recording Artists’. Though Bazan is open about his theological beliefs, the intentions are never sermonized.
Instead Bazan’s narrative comes from an analyst’s perspective. An individual in search, refusing to take a direct dogmatic line.
For example, Foregone Conclusions, disguised in the sunshine of pop, stands as a comment to all those who sit a top the overbearing pedestal of a bible beater passing judgement as he exclaims, â€˜You were too busy steering the conversation toward the Lord/ To hear the voice of the spirit begging you to shut the f*** up.’
“It’s (faith) a central issue in my life,” Bazan admits. “It can be a bit strained at times, but I find a lot of peace in it. It’s going to come in the writing. But it’s often more critical than preachy. There should be critique and people should take a look around at their community.”
More a band now than simply a solo-project, Pedro the Lion seems ready to takes make its rightful place upon the indie-rock elite.
“With this line up and this band we can gain some momentum that Pedro has lacked,” Bazan said. “Pedro has never had a set group of members and had it always been, it would have been a lot more fun. I think this band is finding its nucleus.
“The four-track will always have a special place in a (singer/songwriter’s) creative life. But I enjoy making albums and playing with other guys. Also afterward, you can go out and grab some beers and Mexican food.”
The Brownsville Herald
STEVEN M. BENAVIDES
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