Review Summary: Pedro the Lion's first full length, A solid indie rock album with plenty of lyrical talent to spare.
This is Pedro the Lion's first full length, and expands on their earlier sound from the Whole EP. It is also less focused on a religious message than Whole, but it is still very apparent. What is amazing about David's writing in these days is how he did push across a Christian message in some songs, but it is never the least bit imposing. It can be just as enjoyable of an album whether you agree or disagree with the message and point of some songs. In fact, in the old days when he was still Christian, he considered the entire genre of Christian music sub par, and in poor taste. He believed that if you were to compose music in God's grace, that alone is enough to glorify him, it doesn't have to be all the same repetitive religious message throughout your music. In this, I couldn't agree more with him. Thus, that is the foundation for his inspiration for writing around this album, but there is much more than just religious focused songs in this album. Cheating on your spouse, the misguided attempts for perfection in what society considers beauty, among other topics.
The album begins with "Of up and coming monarchs" which was at the time a narrative about living in a time with having to avoid the evils of the country and wishing to be free from it all. Funnily enough, though written in 1998, it could fit today's situation with society in America perfectly. He mentioned this same thing in his shows in recent months, but when played live time to time changes the line "Boycott the war well she could not afford to, Thanks to the new American Queen" to instead "King". A memorable track for sure, and actually one of the first Pedro songs that got me into them in the first place.
Another memorable track is "The Longer I Lay Here". Bare acoustic and vocals, with a surprisingly fitting bass solo in the middle. The lyrics are a story about a person in distress, and is partly a religious message in his pleading for help from Jesus.
The next track I will mention is "Bad Diary Days". The lyrics are about a husband who begins to realize his wife is cheating on him and finally confronts her. A very well composed song, and a very powerful one. Highly recommended.
At 6 minute 40 seconds, "The Secret of Easy Yoke" can seem like a bit of a drag on the same idea for some at first listen. I do admit, the album version is a bit repetitive. However, it's message is very powerful. Written from the perspective of someone who doubts faith but wants to believe, yet just can't find proof for himself to put faith into. It builds very well, and is a solid track, lyrically and instrumentally.
The other unmentioned tracks are mostly very good as well, I just pointed out the stand out tracks. Overall this album is one that you would likely either hate or love. It is mostly minimal in it's instrumentation, but the lyrical work, as always with Pedro the Lion, is the most satisfying part of the equation. I feel it truly deserves the full rating. Recommended for anyone with a taste for the lyrical aspect of music and interest in stripped down indie rock.