Vancouver's Dan Bejar returns with his sixth full-length under the moniker Destroyer. As expected, it's a thoroughly unexpected collection of clever pop music that takes no prisoners. "Destroyer's Rubies" weaves a narrative of loves won and lost, missed opportunities, and artistic integrity familiar to Destroyer fans. Bejar's Dylanesque flair for biting wit and his nods to the glamorous and bombastic folk approach of early T-Rex and Bowie distance Destroyer from the more straightforward pop of his other band, The New Pornographers, without sacrificing any of the tunefulness of that band's approach. Merge. 2006.
Updating AM radio's finer country-rock moments, Destroyer's Rubies
showcases a new trend for Destroyer fans--the full-band, ensemble approach. The album succeeds when could-seem contrived Nashville-inspired themes and sounds (baritone saxophones, electric pianos, quoting Jim Reeves) mingle with full melodies and New Pornographer contributor Dan Bejar's self-styled lyrical phrasing. Happily, this results in a music that's totally appealing. Standouts are "European Oils," featuring some of the most gorgeously layered guitar runs and one of the best solos Bejar's recorded yet; "Painter in Your Pocket," a lovely, thoughtful, pure-pop exploration; and opener "Rubies," a song that's all at once soaring and antiphonal as well as introverted in its demo-recorded coda. The album reveals a spectrum of moods without chaos: There's ballsy rocker "3000 Flowers," breezy The Sea and Cake
-at-their-finest "Watercolours into the Ocean," and grandiose psychedelia à la Buffalo Springfield on "Sick Priest Learns to Live Forever." In drawing on the theatrical, macro-orchestrations reminiscent of Scott Walker
and expanding on the slapdash, quirky, musical humor of the Red Krayola's Mayo Thompson
, this album reaches another peak for Bejar and is one of Destroyer's best works yet. --Gabi Knight
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