Pedro The Lion is the project of Seattle-resident David Bazan, a long-time
associate of songwriter Damien Jurado.
A four-piece line-up recorded the debut EP, Whole (Tooth & Nail, 1997),
immersed in anemic dirges like Whole and Nothing
with traces of Codeine's slo-core
(Almost There and Lullaby).
It's Hard To Find A Friend (Made In Mexico, 1998 - Jade Tree, 2001),
recorded by the lone Bazan,
perfected this kind of lo-fi slo-core and enhanced it with melodic hooks
worthy of Magnetic Fields:
Big Trucks, When They Really Get To Know You,
Of Minor Prophets And Their Prostitute Wives.
The lyrics manifest Bazan's intellectual wit and his willingness to take on
The EP The Only Reason I Feel Secure , with the catchy albeit slow
Invention and Criticism As Inspiration, is a deign appendix.
The Only Reason I Feel Secure (Jade Tree, 2001) also contains the
David Bazan played all instruments on
Winners Never Quit (Jade Tree, 2000), an eight-song concept album about a
corrupted politician. His moral tales
(the angry and acoustic Bad Things To Such Good People,
the sarcastic Slow and Steady Wins the Race, the
scathing Never Leave A Job Half Done) prevail over the music.
Winners Never Quit and A Mind Of Her Own showcase a balance of
lyrical and musical intents, but overall Bazan is becoming too serious for
his own sake.
(Translation by/ Tradotto da Massimiliano Osini) |
Pedro The Lion e' il progetto di David Bazan, proveniente da Seattle
e per lungo tempo associato al compositore Damien Jurado. Con
una formazione a quattro il gruppo registro' l'EP d'esordio,
Whole (Tooth & Nail, 1997), immerso in anemici canti funebri
quali Whole e Nothing con tracce dello slow core dei Codeinea
(Almost There e Lullaby).
L'album It's Hard To Find A Friend (Made In Mexico, 1998 - Jade Tree, 2001)
perfeziono' questo lo-fi slow-core e lo miglioro' con agganci melodici
degni di Magnetic
Fields: Big Trucks, When They Really Get To Know You,
Of Minor Prophets And Their Prostitute Wives. I testi manifestano
tutto l'acume intellettuale di Bazan e la sua buona volonta' nel farsi
carico di soggetti spinosi.
L'EP The Only Reason I Feel Secure, con le orecchiabili, per
quanto lente Invention e Criticism As Inspiration, ne e'
la degna appendice.
David Bazan suona tutti gli strumenti su Winners Never Quit
(Jade Tree, 2000), un concept album di otto canzoni incentrato sulla
figura di un politico corrotto. Le sue storie morali (l'arrabbiata e
acustica Bad Things To Such Good People, la sarcastica Slow
and Steady Wins the Race, l'aspra Never Leave A Job Half
Done) prevalgono sulla musica. Simple Economics, Winners
Never Quit e A Mind Of Her Own mostrano un equilibriato
connubio di propensioni liriche e musicali, ma nel complesso Bazan sta
divenendo troppo serio per la sua propria causa.
Control (Jade Tree, 2002)
is Pedro The Lion's "rock" (and loud) album
Unfortunately, David Bazan is taking his writing very seriously, to the point
of neglecting the music.
Literate songs like Indian Summer and Second Best are musical
failures, while intriguing musical endeavours such as
Rapture, Penetration and Priests and Paramedics are
powerful and captivating, but lyrical oddities.
Bazan, the master of pathos, seems incapable of stirring emotions on
Achilles Heel (Jade Tree, 2004).
While in theory this should be the first Pedro The Lion album in a while that
is not anchored to a central theme, the songs come through as too
uniform and, ultimately, monotonous.
With the notable exceptions of the elegant dirge Bands With Managers and
the murder ballad Discretion,
Maybe he's trying too hard with the lyrics, that sometimes seem more
appropriate to a movie script than to a pop song. We are better off
imagining the plot of Transcontinental than humming its chorus.
If it is not blue-collar rock and it is not confessional rock, what is it?
This is music in need of more interesting arrangements.
Headphones (Suicide Squeeze, 2005) is an all-electronic collaboration
Pedro The Lion's David Bazan and
TW Walsh (with drums by Starflyer 59's Frank Lenz).
This is still mostly a Pedro The Lion album, as attested by
Gas and Matches, Shit Talker and Hot Girls
that easily outdo the average song on the mediocre Achilles Heel.
But it doesn't change the fact that one has to make an effort not to listen
to Bazan's lyrics (yet another stereotyped lyricist who thinks of himself as a
or, worse, an erudite historian). Focusing on the music, one is much relieved, as the
synthesizer duo plus drums is indeed an intriguing chamber orchestra for pop
Unfortunately, half the songs do not live up to the concept. Had Bazan removed
the filler, it would have been a very nice EP.
Curse Your Branches (Barsuk, 2009), the first album credited to
David Bazan, is a
brutally honest chronicle of his religious doubts, and feels like an
Musically, the style is the simple and straightforward folk-pop of the
Pedro The Lion albums minus the musicians plus electronic keyboards.
Other than the sincerity of the stories, there is
little to write about. The melodies are either trivial or dejavu.
Hard to Be and In Stiches break the monotony.
A more robust backing tries to salvage the fragile songs of
Strange Negotiations (2011), none of which really justifies the
purpose of its existence.
While Bazan continued his solo career with
Blanco (2016), Dark Sacred Night (2016) and
Care (2017), other members of Pedro The Lion went on to play with
Death Cab for Cutie, Fleet Foxes, and the Shins.
Phoenix (2019) as a Pedro the Lion album but it was really just another solo album with a new rhtyhm section.
(Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx) |
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