Pedro the Lion Control

Pedro the Lion excels at creating serene, measured songs that include an exhilarating tension; a half-concealed blade beneath a calm veneer. And the band’s latest disc displays even more jagged terrain. Atop captivating low-key guitar and keyboards, "Options” presents a starkly guileless story of an individual that remains in a relationship for wholly self-centred reasons, while "Rapture” introduces a more brazen side to Pedro the Lion, with voluminous guitars and drums, along with front-man David Bazan’s soaring vocals. The song "Penetration” is a caustic denunciation of corporatism set to superb rhythmic changes and inventive guitar breaks. "Second Best,” "Magazine” and "Rehearsal” are unhurried descents through staggering atmospheres, once more evidencing Bazan’s expertise at constructing unimpeachable lines and demonstrating the band’s ability to create deeply resounding tunes. "Priests/Paramedics” and "Indian Summer” juxtapose soothing pop music with fierce lyrical imagery, producing an incisive contrast remarkably preserved throughout the disc. Control ends with "Rejoice,” an overcast dirge continuously on the verge of collapse, eventually reaching an entirely unforeseen, abrupt conclusion. As a whole, Control does not present the same lyrical uniformity as its predecessor, Winners Never Quit, but Bazan does repeatedly return to the topic of self-absorption and its adverse effects, inventing harrowing representations of self-consumed individuals. Control transparently demonstrates David Bazan’s keen ability to join astute narratives with exceptionally melodious songs. (Jade Tree)