Pedro The Lion "Havasu (Polyvinyl)"
Back in 2019, David Bazan reactivated Pedro the Lion and returned with the band’s first album in 15 years, Phoenix. A truly great comeback, Phoenix added to PTL’s legacy with songs that picked up right where the band left off and never felt like rehashed versions of older material. Turns out that Pedro the Lion is really back in it for the long haul, and Phoenix was apparently the first album in a five-album series, each one named after and inspired by a different place David Bazan has lived. The second, Havasu, was surprise-released this week. Picking right up where Phoenix left off, Havasu feels like classic Pedro the Lion, and you don’t need to be a nostalgia-seeking longtime fan to appreciate it. Pedro the Lion’s emo/indie rock crossover was ahead of its time — there are way more bands that toe that line today than there were 20 years ago — and the reunion has felt like a way for the band to come back into a future they helped create. As on PTL’s past albums, what really makes Havasu stand out is David Bazan’s highly detailed, personal songwriting. Sonically, Havasu isn’t a major departure for Pedro the Lion, but it’s the depth of the songs that make them resonate as strongly as the band’s classic material. Havasu reminds you that, perhaps more than anything else, David Bazan is just a great storyteller.
– Andrew Sacher, Brooklyn Vegan