Pedro The Lion
Face it, we all hated our high school years, or we made others hate them. Dave Bazan spent those critical years in an early planned community, Lake Havasu. In addition to the normal teen issues of adolescence, Bazan lived those issues in the blistering hot and desperately distant Arizona river area, location of the hottest inhabited space in the USA. This collection of Dave’s material is filled with story songs and a smoky sad reminiscence of high school and hanging out with nothing to do but practice music. So, there was an upside: Bazan is a more than decent musician. That’s good for us, but while Dave was up to his ears in tenors and altos, he still remained an outcast among his friends. I think we’ve all been there.
Musically, this album is packed with story songs and personal insights that sound oh so familiar. Dave’s dad wanted one thing, Dave another, but that’s how it always was. My dad wanted me to farm, a career that froze my heart, so I sympathize with Bazan. His voice is steady and descriptive, and the stories are small and a bit sad: He talks about his first drum set and going “boom crack boom” all afternoon. He had no choice of activities, but thanks to those hours banging away, we have this fine record to hear.
As I spin this project, there’s a spare guitar lurking in the back and an occasional keyboard. It’s sparse and compact, and all this minimal music supports a dramatic tale of teenage angst, lust, and aspirations. We mope along with him for 10 tracks, and while there’s no sense of a hit here, I could easily see this as a musical comedy set in a mid-century high school filled with teens and one sad, middle-aged guy singing this story with a small band on a riser. Just an idea… I like this collection, not only for its clean arrangement and skilled playing, but for its complex and coherent story. Dave’s music supports his stories, and not the other way around. now I hope he’s picked up a few friends by now.