It’s one of life’s ironies that David Bazan felt he had to drop his moniker as Pedro The Lion to ‘go solo’, and then 15 years later is bringing it back in order to rediscover himself.

Introspection has always been the realm of Bazan and his brusque distressed tone, and Phoenix sees him return not just to a name, but to a place and the version of himself he left there. The music, too, with those classic strained vocals and burly riffs, are focused in the rear-view mirror as Bazan tries to get “finally home.”

This sense of rediscovering his roots is the topic of ‘Leaving the Valley’, which is full of wonderment about home. This comes full circle in ‘Yellow Bike’, where Bazan is willing to trade “my kingdom for someone to ride with,” as he is “leaving early, packing light, that little ache inside.” The punchy riffs and warm tone welcome you back into Pedro with not so much nostalgia, but a new enthusiasm for catching up with an old friend.

He brings cut-glass narration as he tells tales from his own life; “It’s the Devil’s bargain that to save your soul from hell/ deny your senses, be a stranger to yourself,” from ‘Powerful Taboo’ is a breakdown of his Christian upbringing, a religion which he denounced in 2005 when he left Pedro The Lion behind him. The confident assertions of his own identity and the terse undertones of his childhood are evident as he sings “tired of where we live” in ‘Model Homes’, his inner conflict reflected in the flecks of taut guitar hooks and hopeful chime in his voice.

A steady rhythm and sharp twangs of distorted guitar bring in the absurdist suicide story of ‘Black Canyons’, which comments more on our ability to get through the hard parts with a good joke and a healthy helping of compartmentalising. It builds to a sharp wailing climax, which knocks the nail in deeper.

Nostalgia trips go hand in hand with a warm sepia sheen and the picked melodies of ‘Circle K’, in which Bazan evaluates the idea of what he feels was lacking in his life. 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.

Classic Jade Tree emo is centre here on Phoenix, and Bazan’s ruffled baritone is well-worn with years of living. As he questions, “how will you know you’re finally home?” he also provides us an answer. When searching for home it will find its way to you, and finding Pedro The Lion again after 15 years is a comfort only home can bring.