Critic's Choice

Pedro the Lion

David Bazan, aka Pedro the Lion, who performs Friday, April 26, at the Bluebird Theater, with Damien Jurado, Gathered in Song and TW Walsh, has been called many things: whiny, self-absorbed, full of "minor-league anxieties." But the born-again Christian singer-songwriter has a gift for telling stories in an offhand, lo-fi manner that infuriates haters of Sebadoh and Superchunk-style indie rock, simply because he does it so well. Pedro's latest disc, Control, begins with a song that will be immediately recognizable to fans, with its sleepy rhythm and bare, honest lyrics: "I could never divorce you/Without a good reason/...but for now, I need you." On other songs, Bazan sounds as though he's been dosed with a double shot of cappuccino, especially when he steps out of the mellow mold and plays some upbeat, quirky/poppy songs in the vein of Built to Spill or Pavement. Control features much bigger sounds than those that defined previous albums like Hard to Find a Friend, though Bazan's mumbled vocals are unmistakable, as are his (usually) subtle references to his beliefs. Hallelujah.
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