Achilles' Heel (Remastered)
Pedro the Lion goes out on a high note artistically (if not emotionally) with Achilles’ Heel. As before, David Bazan’s world-weary vocals and trenchant songwriting are at the center of the action, with T.W. Walsh and newly recruited James McAlister making crucial contributions on an assortment of instruments. Unlike on previous Pedro albums, Achilles’ Heel doesn’t focus on a single theme; this time, the lyrics range across a variety of human failings and transgressions. Bazan offers rueful comments on the music business (“Bands with Managers”), takes a dark view of marriage and parenthood (“I Do”), and wrestles with knotty questions of faith (“Foregone Conclusions”). Soul-sick laments like “A Simple Plan” and “The Fleecing” are tempered by a sense of mercy, if not redemption. Musically, the tracks benefit from Bazan’s brawny guitar work (especially on “Keep Swinging”) and McAlister’s sparkling keyboard touches. “The Poison”—an unsparing portrait of one man’s personal hell—brings the album to a bleak but powerful close. All told, Achilles’ Heel is a melancholy final roar from one of Christian music’s most groundbreaking bands.