Metascore
79

Generally favorable reviews - based on 16 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 16
  2. Negative: 0 out of 16
Buy On
  1. Jan 15, 2019
    100
    Bazan’s wit and compassion shine throughout a dark voyage such as this; as one witness to a brutal suicide turns to black humour, while another, in contrast, valiantly tries to retain their emotional openness in a job that often requires distance.
  2. Under The Radar
    Mar 6, 2019
    80
    Phoenix is wondrous. [Feb-Apr 2019, p.110]
  3. Mar 4, 2019
    80
    Phoenix is much more than what floats to its surface, and far greater than the sum of its parts. It's an album of stories.
  4. Jan 30, 2019
    80
    As always, it’s Bazan’s words that bring people to the table and keep seated. Rolling out of his mouth with no real set sense of intonation or melody, Bazan beautifully interweaves pinpoint specific tales of his churchgoing suburban youth with greater universal ideas of truth and meaning, all wrapped in his dark wit and humor.
  5. Jan 24, 2019
    80
    It’s characterized by both futile resignation and hopeful nostalgia. That’s a generous way to write, and Phoenix stands as a complex, giving record backed by some of Pedro the Lion’s finest musical compositions.
  6. 80
    Richly nuanced and always intelligent, fifteen years have passed since the last album, and much like Bazan prior to the record’s conception, its release feels like a homecoming.
  7. Jan 18, 2019
    80
    Even as Bazan sings about returning as a stranger to a place he once knew intimately, he’s doing it by way of a musical persona he has reanimated. There’s an appealing symmetry there: even if you can’t quite go home again, you can always come full circle.
  8. Jan 17, 2019
    80
    Bazan's voice is more full and powerful than ever, and the return to familiar writing processes pays off. Every note from every instrument expertly weaves together with pristine, yet organic movement, as if Bazan was a Baroque composer for string quartet.
  9. Jan 15, 2019
    80
    His two band mates this time, Erik Walters of Globe and Silver Torches plus NW session drummer Sean Lane (who has played with Bazan solo and Silver Torches and many other artists), have never been associated with Pedro the Lion before. However, with Bazan on bass, they make a sound that is deeply familiar, rough-hewn and rambunctious with big bright guitar chords that punctuate moody, sharply observed narratives.
  10. Uncut
    Jan 15, 2019
    80
    This is no desperate grab at nostalgia, then, rather a chronicle of important personal moments reexamined through the lens of time. [Feb 2019, p.30]
  11. Jan 15, 2019
    80
    It shows an artist no longer caught in his own artistic web, but someone watching his past selves struggle from a higher vantage point.
  12. Jan 23, 2019
    76
    Bazan sings better than he ever has on Phoenix, his voice round and worn with intricacy from years of use, like a hiking stick toted in the same hand for a thousand miles.
  13. Jan 25, 2019
    75
    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.
  14. Jan 17, 2019
    70
    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.
User Score
7.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 14 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 14
  2. Negative: 2 out of 14
  1. Feb 23, 2019
    8
    5th album from this Seattle, Washington band who play poignant and powerful guitar roots-rockers led by the riveting, emotive voice of David5th album from this Seattle, Washington band who play poignant and powerful guitar roots-rockers led by the riveting, emotive voice of David Bazan. These are medium-to-slow paced, heartfelt rock songs with a passionate strength that digs deep into the soul—bolstered by muscular guitars and Bazan’s uniquely affecting vocals. Members have played in Lo Tom, Headphones, The Globes, Silver Torches. Recalls bands like American Music Club, Drive-By Truckers, Starflyer 59, The Hold Steady. “Phoenix” will leave you affectionately shaking your head with deep sense of satisfaction and time well spent. Recommended. Full Review »
  2. Feb 14, 2019
    9
    Phoenix is Bazan's love letter to his younger selves. It's a chronicle of integration and of revisiting one's younger selves as a differentPhoenix is Bazan's love letter to his younger selves. It's a chronicle of integration and of revisiting one's younger selves as a different but whole, healthy person. Full Review »
  3. Jan 18, 2019
    9
    You can clearly hear that Bazan is reinvigorated on this record. There are some standouts. "Model Homes", "Quietest Friend" and "My Phoenix"You can clearly hear that Bazan is reinvigorated on this record. There are some standouts. "Model Homes", "Quietest Friend" and "My Phoenix" in particular made even me feel his nostalgia for the places he grew up that set the theme for the album. The entirety of it feels very cohesive, he's telling a great story and I can't wait for the next 4 in this planned 5 album arc. Full Review »