With a sound that’s something like a cross between Oasis and Chris Stapleton, Pedro The Lion’s latest single, ‘Quietest Friend’ is a big guitar led track with a music video that’s a natural follow-on from that of their previous single, ‘Yellow Bike‘.
Back in August 2016 David Bazan was touring around the US, by himself, in an ageing minivan. He found himself in his hometown of Phoenix, Arizona, and in need of a break, spent a night at his Grandparents’ house. He stopped by the house he grew up in, and felt a breakthrough, one which would lead him both forward and backwards in time, to another home he’d built years before.
Bazan’s lyrics for Pedro The Lion are almost obsessively introspective, and the melodies are stark and minimalistic. He records and arranges each part for each player, who then learns his part, and as a band, they bring the songs to life. Although his bandmates play on a few recordings, Bazan tends to play on all, or at least most of the instruments, by himself.
Pedro The Lion has been around for a very long time. Originally founded in 1998, the band has always had David Bazan as the core member, but by 2002, after recording ‘Control’, he ditched his “natural process” in favour of a collaborative writing process. This didn’t stabalise the turnover of the band, and so in November 2005 he stopped Pedro The Lion completely, and stepped away for it for the next decade.
“I had abandoned my natural way of working in the hopes of creating space for a consistent band to write with…and it hadn’t worked. So I got a rehearsal space and really leaned into my original process again. Before long I realized it also felt like Pedro the Lion.”
A resurrected Pedro The Lion was born in June 2018, with Bazan on bass, vocals, and arrangement writing, Erik Walters taking guitar and backing vocals, and Sean Lane on drums. They entered Studio X and Hall Of Justice along with producer Andy Park, and came out with ‘Phoenix’, the first new album for the band in 15 years.
‘Phoenix’ is darkly hopeful and introspective, looking into home and what it means to go back, and if you ever truly can. It’s rock’n’roll, but with a soft, burred edge to it. The video for ‘The Quietest Friend’ is an experiment; a natural extension of ‘Yellow Bike’, Director Jason Lester shot it entirely on 16mm film, with the result a haunting, introspective clip.
It starts with Bazan turning up to a very dated motel somewhere in the South West. He’s wandering through the corridors, with flickering lights overhead, and he’s looking for something…or someone. A little boy on a yellow bike rides down the halls, a nice link to the previous video. There’s also another encounter for David – himself. He’s come back to this place to confront his past, but he realises his present self also has something to say about it all.