Pedro The Lion - Phoenix
Critic Score
Based on 16 reviews
2019 Ratings: #248 / 583
User Score
Based on 112 ratings
2019 Ratings: #549
January 18, 2019 / Release Date
LP / Format
Polyvinyl / Label
Indie Rock / Genres
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The Skinny

David Bazan’s return to his most widely known creative outlet, to release their first record in 15 years, is far from a cynical retreat to better-paid pastures. Turning to the past to better understand the present on Phoenix – an invigorating and tender examination of the cyclical nature of our lives – Bazan is comforting and challenging as he welcomes back (rather than desperately trying to revive) an old friend many will be very glad to be reacquainted with: Pedro the Lion.

As the narrative begins and the album settles in, Bazan's voice is more full and powerful than ever, and the return to familiar writing processes pays off.
Drowned in Sound

Phoenix, David Bazan’s first album in over 15 years under the Pedro moniker, indeed, feels more like a reconstruction than a revival.

Spectrum Culture

In place of innovation ... we get an album that begs to be dissected, teeming with life and rich detail – one that sounds exactly like what the Pedro the Lion of 2019 should sound. If this is what it sounds like when a band is “in it for the money,” we all owe capitalism a small thank-you note.

Though much of the album looks back on his youth, these 13 new songs aren’t a nostalgia trip so much as an effort to make sense of his present by examining the past.
Under The Radar
Pedro the Lion is alive. And it is emotional. Like it always was at its best.
The Line of Best Fit

Far from feeling immediately accessible, Phoenix is an album which one needs to immerse themselves, exploring its intricacies and feeling the palpable emotion that, like all of Bazan’s previous work before it, is at the very core of the record.

NOW Magazine

Phoenix stands as a complex, giving record backed by some of Pedro the Lion’s finest musical compositions.


These songs are a corrective to nostalgia, or of longing for a rose-colored history that never actually happened. In reckoning with who he was and who he has become, Bazan is squaring off with the past and asking hard questions of it and himself.

The 405

As Bazan embraces his current self by looking at his former, we learn the story of his life, and by the time the 14 tracks of Phoenix are over the picture is clear.

Northern Transmissions
Though Pedro The Lion is already blending loud rock with more ambient and psychedelic tones, it’s the scatterbrained approach to his music right now that feels a little harder to follow.
Older, wiser, and still passionate, Phoenix is a worthy continuation of Pedro the Lion's legacy with just enough spirit to set it apart from his 2010s solo work.
God Is in the TV
With a troubled career and a turbulent history of line ups behind them, it’s an achievement that Pedro The Lion have managed to rise from the flames at all. Let’s hope, on this evidence anyway, that we won’t have to wait 15 years for the next one.
No one tells a story quite like David Bazan. ‘Phoenix’ – his first under the Pedro The Lion moniker in nearly 15 years– is a powerful return, filled with sketches of still life frozen in time and conjured from deep inside the soul.
No Ripcord

Yes, Bazan's voice has matured significantly, but the hard-worn grain, without more musical interest to carry it forward, does nothing but add heft to an already droning sound.

Top Favorite: Leaving The Valley
Other Favorites: Quietest Friend, Black Canyon, Powerful Taboo
Least Favorite: Piano Bench
I was a casual Pedro The Lion fan for many years but when this one came out, I latched on to it hard and played it a few times a day for about 2 months. David Bazan and I are roughly the same age and grew up in very different parts of the country but the stories he describes in these songs are very relatable for me and it brought back a lot of childhood memories that I've long taken for granted. Yellow Bike (mine was red), Circle K (we called in Hills), Quietest Friend (we all had one or were ... read more
This first album in 15 years isn’t a very strong comeback. Some forgettable songs, but colourful and nostalgic lyrics.
Best track: “Powerful Taboo”.
Delicinha de ouvir, não conhecia essa voz e estou impressionado.
bem estruturado, porém o conjunto final deixa um pouco a desejar.

Melhores Músicas: Leaving the Valley
Favorite Tracks:
Powerful Taboo
Model Homes
Quietest Friend

After a 15 year hiatus, Pedro the Lion have returned with their first studio record since 2004’s “Achilles Heel.” I’m not exactly sure what prompted the reunion since David Bazan has seemed perfectly content releasing numerous solo records over the last decade, but alas, here it is. Though I have never been a die-hard Bazan fan, I was certainly intrigued when I heard the news and figured I’d tune in. ... read more
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Track List

  1. Sunrise
  2. Yellow Bike
  3. Clean Up
  4. Powerful Taboo
  5. Model Homes
  6. Piano Bench
  7. Circle K
  8. Quietest Friend
  9. Tracing the Grid
  10. Black Canyon
  11. My Phoenix
  12. All Seeing Eye
  13. Leaving the Valley
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Added on: November 3, 2018