Great return of Pedro the Lion
Fifteen years later, Pedro the Lion is back with the release of Phoenix, their first full-length album release since 2004. Since their conception in 1995, Pedro the Lion has been through multiple members and released a wide array of works. Phoenix promises to be an album for Pedro the Lion that showcases all of the talent and experience gathered since David Bazan formed the group so many years ago.
The first song worth highlighting on Phoenix is the track “Clean Up.” From the start, this track displays a level of passion in Bazan’s vocals that can’t be ignored. Alongside this passion, the drums are a great addition to the overall feel of the track. Putting this track on the front end of the album was a smart move on Pedro the Lion’s part because it reminds the listener just how talented Pedro the Lion is. “Model Homes” is another stand-out track on the album, which seems to be a good summary of what Pedro the Lion does best in all departments.
Bazan brings a soulful sound with his vocals on the track “Circle K.” There is something charming about the writing on this track, in the sense that the lyrics tell an actual story that is easy to follow as a listener. The lyricism matched up with the haunting guitar riffs makes for a song that sticks in your mind, making it a good fit for this album, since it is the first thing Pedro the Lion has released in some time.
The later portion of the album has some strong stand-out tracks as well, one being “Black Canyon.” This track strikes a perfect balance between what is heard earlier on in the album and a more charged up sound. While Bazan’s songwriting continues to tell a story, the musicianship has been turned up a notch in dramatics, which seems to fit better with Bazan’s vocal style.
The guitar work at the beginning of “My Phoenix” is reminiscent of older Foo Fighters songs, which continues on through the chorus. However, this track tends to feel a little more theatrical, which feels like a tip-of-the-hat to artists like Manchester Orchestra, even though Pedro the Lion has been creating much longer. That being said, “My Phoenix” is probably one of the most stand-out tracks on the album.
All in all, Phoenix serves as a solid album and will be a pleasant treat to Pedro the Lion fans that have been waiting fifteen years for a new release from the group.