Thursday, April 21, 2005

Pedro The Lion...

I come to you uncultured in the way of Pedro. During a recent discussion with my friend Dave (you may recall as drummer extraoridinaire and fellow wallower in the muddy waters that are The Golden State Warriors) I learned that I really should be listening to Pedro The Lion. It was a discussion, as I'm want to have, regarding the best of the current crop of indie songwriters (please see this post for general obsessiveness); he insisted that after touring with Pedro The Lion (he was drumming for Vanderslice) he thought Dave Bazan was surely one of the most underrated and overlooked songwriters working. Ha! I thought. How could this be? I've barely heard of this Bazan guy and I, as a snobby rock elitist, know everything. But because I'm an agreeable guy I tracked down a copy of 2004's Achilles' Heel. On first listen I was totally unimpressed. Perhaps I'd biased myself somehow against Pedro (as I did with The Decemberists and I'm glad I got over that) and was unable to find the virtue in the music. The next day I listened to it again on the way to work. Reaction on 2nd listen: Hmmm, this kinda cool. Lyrics are a bit mopey, but homey can write a song. Reaction on 3rd listen: Ok, I totally missed the boat. This is great. "I Do" and "Simple Plan" are fantastic, "Arizona" is oddly charming. Where was I when this came out?

Since that fateful day of introduction I've listened to Achilles' Heel a lot and am preparing myself to jump into the rest of the catalog. My only complaint is the production. According to my sources Pedro & co are very much do it yourself. They'd rather build a studio and learn how to make records then hire an outsider. This is commendable to the highest, but it does bury Bazan's excellent songwriting. It's like looking at a beautiful photo though gauzy cheesecloth. There are things you need/want to know that are obscured from view. I really think that Achilles' Heel could've been a 2004 top 5 record with brighter production, i.e. punchier drum sounds, more dynamic mix, etc. I'm not talking about putting a sheen or pop gloss on these songs, on the contrary I'm advocating simply taking them out of their shell a bit, letting them breath. None the less, this is a great record.

2 songs from Achilles' Heel:

I Do

A Simple Plan


Post a Comment

<< Home