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May 25, 2004

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Pedro The Lion's "Achilles Heel" is the soundtrack for an evening at home after a really shitty day. The eleven songs on David Bazan's fifth album under this singer/songwriter monicker capture all the feelings of despair, hopelessness, and melancholy bogging down my consciousness as I exhaustively swing open the front door, drop anything I'm carrying at my feet, and plod over to the sofa to heave my body face first to the cushions below. "Achilles Heel" lumbers forward at a similar pace, but for David Bazan, the comfort of a nosedive into soft cushions isn't there. This music is the means by which the weight of those shitty days is released. It serves, then, to help ease the dejection of the listener. It's a sigh of despondency, a pillow, and a mug of your favorite comforting warm beverage - in eleven parts.

Throughout most of "Achilles Heel" are steady beats and swaying melodies that give the album an overall optimistic, or at least uplifting, temperment. It's not a sulking album as much as it is a comforting one. Songs like "Foregone Conclusions" and "Arizona" seek to remedy the prevailing sense of despair with almost cheerful foot-tapping melodies. Not only does the upbeat percussion make this contrast possible, but the accompanying musicians adding layers of guitar, bass, and synthesizer - plus a sprinkling of maracas as well. The mood of the album would have been far more depressing if it were a vocals and guitar solo effort. The company of others on "Achilles Heel" works wonders to transcend the speakers and raise the spirits of the listener. This is a very effective piece of music, and a fine installment of the rich Pedro The Lion discography.

Punk International

Tim Krysko