Critic's Choice

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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