Pedro the Lion front man David Bazan is, without question, a member of America's emo-rock fraternity: He records for genre clearinghouse Jade Tree, there's a picture of a cuddly lion on the cover of his new album, and he called his first CD It's Hard to Find a Friend. But unlike his peers, Bazan doesn't throw musical hissy fits to make his points; instead, he sings in a low deadpan croon over measured, intricate guitar rock that acts as a sort of counterpoint to the heated predicaments his characters get into. In "Discretion," a tune from Achilles Heel, Pedro's new album, Bazan sings about the murder of a farmer's son in the farmer's field: "Having no idea that his youngest son was dead/The farmer and his sweet young wife slept soundly in his bed." It's chilling, but only until James McAlister's rolling drums sweep you into a chorus with a zippy keyboard line.
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