May 25, 2004
PEDRO THE LION [I]ACHILLES HEEL[/I] REVIEW
I have always loved Pedro the Lion. From their first release [The Whole EP] on Tooth & Nail in ?°»97 to today’s not-yet-released Achilles’ Heel, Pedro has greatly advanced and become a band that will always be well before their time. Though some may find their music to be too morose and laid-back, I find it to be the most relaxing, tranquil and easy-to-listen to music in this scene. This is even more so veritable and proven in Achilles’ Heel.
The CD starts with the soothing and amazingly un-altered voice of David Bazan, slowly inspiring head-nodding in the song “Bands with Managers”. Reminiscent of the simplistic vocal nature of Thom Yorke [Radiohead], David tells a story in every song. In the following song, “Forgone Conclusions”, things pick up in tempo and a tambourine enters. The new pace greatly dictates the movement of storytelling, using “you” as the main subject of the song. My favorite song on the album, “Arizona” makes it ever-evident that David Bazan, though claiming not wanting to make another concept album, has made an album showing his emotion through amazing anecdotes. “Arizona curled up with California / then she tried to hide the whole thing from New Mexico.” This lyric greatly represents the tone of Achilles’ Heel, a 38 minute and 20 second narrative. However, despite the tranquil quality of this CD, “Keep Swinging” exposes Pedro’s dance-worthy side, with a heavy bass that is hard to avoid and harmonies that are asking to be sung along with. Finally, the CD concludes with a glum but lyrically-powerful acoustic song entitled “Poison”. Truly, this band is as diverse lyrically as they are musically.
Partnered up with TW Walsh and featuring James McCallister [Ester Drang], this mere two-person group (with drum assistance from McCallister) has achieved an amazing thing with one of the most laid-back but intuitive, pensive and stylistic albums of indie-rock and/or Pedro the Lion’s history. I highly suggest that you go out and buy it as soon as possible, for it has accomplished something that is hard to accomplish: an album that is enjoyable the whole way through. Jade Tree Records has attained yet another successful band.
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