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Destroyer: Trouble In Dreams

March 11, 2008

Ahhh. How good it feels to be musing on an artist so established in, so crucial to, so loved by the indie rock world. Daniel Bejar has been at this Destroyer thing for something like a decade, and he’s turned more than a few heads in his time. 2006’s Destroyer’s Rubies was certainly one of that year’s highlights, merging flashy, Bowie-like, 70’s glam/brit rock stylings with an indie rock sensibility know in these days as Canadian. But the real highlight was, as always with Destroyer, Bejar’s endlessly original songwriting and distinct vocal approach. Bejar’s lyrics have caught the attention of many, even inspiring a fairly well known drinking game!(Rules).

Never one to follow expectations, Detroyer’s latest effort; Trouble In Dreams, follows quite a different formula. Where Rubies was explosive, epic, joyous, chock full of Bowie-inspired goodies and sing-along opportunities, Dreams is often subdued, whispery, confusing, strange, and very personal. Here Bejar has in part augmented the more quiet and wistful approach heard on This Night with the musicianship and rock sensibility of his current band mates, all Rubies carry-overs.

Bejar’s lyrics haven’t changed much at all here. His wordplay is still infinitely engaging, he’s still ultimately indecipherable, he’s still name-dropping girls and his own lyrics from other songs, as well year numbers, decades, what have you. Most importantly, there’s still always that feeling that as groundless as much of what he sings seems, it always feels genuine and affecting coming from his mouth.

For this listener, Dreams was a less than immediate success. But Bejar has earned our respect, and deserves more than a handful of extra listens to get himself across. He bolsters that respect here, taking his music in another unexpected and refreshing step, staying always engaging and enigmatic. Definitely check this one out.

86.5/100

Highlight Tracks: Blue Flower/Blue Flame, Foam Hands, My Favorite Year, Introducing Angels

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