By Adam Rogers
Pedro The Lion – Phoenix
Polyvinyl Record Co.
Pedro the Lion are back! Fifteen years have passed since Achilles Heel, the band’s fourth and last full length release. This is not to say that founding member David Bazan has been sitting on his ass. The Seattle-based musician has released a number of solo projects over the years while Pedro… has been sleeping. Now awoken, they return with Phoenix.
Pedro the Lion always seemed like a solo project with a swinging door of guest musicians (24 to be exact), the likes of Ben Gibbard of Death Cab For Cutie having once laid their mark with Bazan. And so in this latest carnation, Pedro the Lion have produced a wonderfully upbeat indie rock record in Phoenix, a little more brazen and urgent then their previous output. “Yellow Bike” sets the scene after the instrumental and aptly named opener, “Sunrise.”
There are classic Pedro moments, with the slow moving folky lo-fi sounds that were so common in their previous output. “Circle K” and “All Seeing Eye” reflect this, but what is strikingly different is the more open tone and uplifting sound of Bazen’s voice, even as he covers dark themes of his life, he finds a brightness in his delivery.
Standout tracks include “My Phoenix” and “Model Homes,” but Phoenix overall is a great return from a band many of us probably thought we’d never hear again.pedro the lion