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Pedro The Lion
"Achilles Heel"
by: Sun-J

David Bazan, the constant force that has pushed indie-rock outfit Pedro the Lion through the years, all the way back to the 1997 EP that established Bazan's penchant for sincere couplets. David Bazan is a devout Christian outside of Pedro the Lion, but his rock success thrives on the fact that for the most part he minimizes his overt, religious protocols. 2002's release Control produced arguably the best indie-rock song lyrically, "Rapture." With lines such as, "this is how we multiply, pity it's not my wife," Pedro the Lion caught the ears of a growing pop culture that finds suffice in underground rock (such as Bright Eyes, but that's a different review). Where Control was full of boisterous drumming and heavy rock overtones, the 2004 release, Achilles Heel trades in much of the percussion for a couple keyboards to provide a more diversified atmosphere. The main difference in this album is that Achilles Heel takes it back lyrically to It's Hard to Find a Friend, yet maintains distinctive sounds on every track for the most part. The main problem Bazan has faced in the past is that much of his music, instrumentally sounds repetitious, though his lyrics has always pushed listeners consciously away from such blunders.

The opening track, "Bands With Managers" is vintage Pedro with its summer guitars, and smooth vocals. A smart move by Bazan, pleasing the cult following early on before switching gears and heading in quitea different direction. "Foregone Conclusions" is filled with Tom Petty guitars which explode alongside Pedro's vocals. "Fleecing" seems to suffer from lack of variety while "Arizona" is a cleverly written metaphor using states to describe a wretched love triangle, "New Mexico has always hated California, though he knew Arizona wore the pants..." "Keep Swinging" is about the night life of a drunk with guitars strikingly similar to The Beatles. "I Do" is track describing he burden of children, "Now that my blushing bride has done what she was born to do, time to bury dreams and raise a son to live vicariously through..." "Simple Plan" is the political track critiquing socialism and capitalism while the closing track "Poison," is perhaps the best best written track on the album, "My old man always swore that hell would have no flames, just a front row seat to watch your true love pack her things, and drive away..."

Achilles Heel is a lot like previous albums in that it is filled with malcontent, heartbreak, cheating girlfriends, gambling husbands and immoral marriages; though, it differs with more lyrical couplets as well as instrumental diversity. The lethargic momentum builds up within the structure of every song and seems to climax with Bazan's vocal stretches. Another solid outing by the Christian that can rock, independently that is :)


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