Mar 25, 2008

Trouble In Dreams-Destroyer

Sometimes you do not need to understand great art to fully appreciate it. Sometimes the unique beauty of an artistic creation can not be easily dissected. Easily explained or even understood. Much like a Chagall painting or a David Lynch film, a Destroyer piece of music can be impenetrable and opaque. A riddle, a puzzle. But I do believe that often the most difficult journeys can be the most satisfying. Put it this way. Destroyer have worked hard for their art and asking us, the audience, to do the same is not too much. Suffice to say, this latest creation from the pen of Dan Bejar is yet again something to behold. A lush symphony of sounds, elegant and glorious. A dense and substantial stream of articulation. Words flow and cascade, providing all lyric lovers with a smorgasbord to dine from.

'OK fine, even the sky looks like wine,
And everywhere I turn there,
a new face in time, stuck inside the well
fresh hands to attend to'...and so begins "Blue Flower/Blue Flame" the first song from this wonderful collection of songs. The latest and greatest collection of songs from Destroyer. Now, Destroyer is a five piece band and you can hear how tight and proficient they are on this platter. There is strident drumming and effective keyboards and resonant guitar lines. But, but, this collective revolves around one man. The genius that is Dan Bejar. Mr Bejar is truly unique. Perhaps his voice is an acquired taste. Sometimes melodramatic or a touch nasally, it is however powerful and extremely effective. Well, consider myself to be addicted to it. I particularly love his phrasing. How he hangs on a certain noun or verb, pausing to desired effect. Stopping and starting, keeping the game alive. Ah, sweet rapture. Well, back to the beginning. The opening four songs are a seriously great appetiser. "Blue Flower/Blue Flame" is a story of competing woman, I think, its lush melody softly echoed by a delectable acoustic line. Classic Bejar. "Dark Leaves Form A Thread" romps at a considerable pace, a sensuous and exuberant tune. "Foam Hands" is perhaps one of Bejar's most touching songs that he has penned. He almost whispers the opening, a melancholic song full of aching wonder.

Then the centrepiece. The one-two punch. My highlight is the sumptuous "My Favourite Year", its humming guitar intro firstly drills a hole in your memory and then decides to rest for a while. Before fluent drums signal the vocals to make an entrance. "I was starving in that shit-house, the world" sings Bejar, as he remembers the year 1993. There is a certain mournful tone at work here, a regretful singer seems disheartened by his world. Or that is my take. And that is the beauty of Destroyer's work. There is no easy summation, no clear answer. Nothing straight forward. This is never better exemplified then in the epic "Shooting Rockets". Eight glorious minutes of tremendous sound. This song is lyrically complex to the extreme, a monumental movement of modulation. "I’ve got street despair carved into my heart". Yes you do Dan.

This opening sextet of songs would be enough to stamp "Trouble In Dreams" as a major piece of music. However there is plenty to enjoy in the closing five numbers. "Introducing Angels" is a pure delight, its soft and gentle nature evoking a truly warm feeling. "Rivers" is boisterous Bejar at his best, all froth and melodrama. Probably the only song yet to convince is "Plaza Trinidad", its simplistic nature feeling a little lacklustre. But "Libby's First Sunrise" brings this wonderful album to a glorious close. Its warm fuzzy tones even include some hand claps. In an ever burgeoning catalogue of illustrious sounds, "Trouble In Dreams" holds its own with any other Destroyer work. A work of great complexity and beauty, it is a journey of considerable substance.

MP3: Foam Hands
MP3: Dark Leaves Form A Thread


  • At March 25, 2008 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I love love love this album. It'll definitely be in my Top 10 of 2008.

    Would you say this is better than Destroyer's Rubies? I really can't decide.

  • At March 25, 2008 , Blogger Wayne Massingham said...

    Jess, I might be in the minority but I like this album more then Rubies.

    I still have This Night and Streethawk as the best two Destroyer albums. Then third is probably this new one, just ahead of Rubies.

  • At March 25, 2008 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Great album, great analysis. I couldn't do it justice the way you did in this review. Well spoken.

    I agree with Jess in that it's about the same level as Rubies, not sure I can decide. Streethawk remains my favorite, but this is definitely vintage Bejar.


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