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Trouble in Dreams

6 customer reviews

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Audio CD, March 18, 2008
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

This release cements Vancouver, BC's Dan Bejar as an artist as quirky and enigmatic as David Bowie, as symphonic and grandiose as Scott Walker, and as quixotically literary as Bob Dylan. A collection of songs that is fresh and confounding, yet befitting the Destroyer canon. "Of all contemporary songwriters, he's been the biggest influence and inspiration. Because he is pretentious, but in a way that makes it into a game where we all get to pretend to be so grand" - Okkervil River's Will Sheff.

All hail Destroyer's ninth-or-so full-length, Trouble in Dreams. Many, many gosh-darn dudes go in for the "vaguely weird indie-rock music with oblique lyrics" schtick, and yet it's still an utter joy to hear Dan Bejar do it. He does it so well: if you close your eyes (or if your record collection doesn't go back before 1995), you might believe he invented this stuff. Overloaded, gorgeous, EBowed guitar work drips all over these songs. A few tunes suffer a tad from overly proggy, lurching rhythms, particular "Plaza Trinidad," on which Bejar's singing sounds like a parody of himself. It's totally Bowie-does-Shakespeare-in-the-park, but the over-the-top delivery saves it. "Shooting Rockets (From the Desk of Night's Ape)" is another head-scratcher, an overblown yacht-rock nightmare that begs to be part of a Paul Williams rock opera. But it's weirdly beautiful, and lacking in irony, so go ahead and put it on the mix tape for that barista you're crushing out on. All the lewd language, baroque pronunciation, and laconic pace keep songs like "Libby's First Sunrise" or "Leopard of Honor" from the radio waves and Target commercials they should rightfully rule, but that doesn't keep them from being among the best, smartest, already classic rock music of 2008. --Mike McGonigal
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 18, 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Merge Records
  • ASIN: B0012IWHPK
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #251,323 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 17, 2008
Format: Audio CD
"Ok fine, even the sky looks like wine/And everywhere I turn there's/a new face in time, stuck inside the well..." Daniel Bejar drawls in a weary voice.

Well, that doesn't exactly wear off quickly. Destroyer's eighth album -- or maybe its tenth, I'm not sure -- is full of reflections to those who "live in darkness" and think "light is a dream." But "Trouble in Dreams" definitely transcends its rambling poetry with full-bodied, expansive instrumentation -- think a shoegaze orchestra.

It opens with a bittersweetly folky ode to... not sure. Maybe it's infidelity: "Blue Flower Blue Flame,/a woman by another name is not a woman/I'll tell you what I mean by that, maybe not in ten seconds flat, maybe never..." Bejar sings over a piano and guitar.

It's followed by the far more uptempo, angular rock'n'roll of "Dark Leaves Form a Thread" and the blurry, bassy "The State." But then they embrace a stranger, more distant kind of music -- quirky melodies infused with organ, shoegazey rockers, rambling folky rock, stretches of fuzzy balladry, and the exquisitely shifting dark expanses of "Shooting Rockets (From the Desk of Night's Ape)."

Though it sounds much like a continuation of Destroyer's last album, "Trouble in Dreams" is a bit of a contradiction at times. Bejar has solidified Destroyer into a permanent lineup, meaning that the sound is much fuller, lusher and clearer than in Destroyer's days as a shifting (or even one-man) band. But on the other hand, the music is even stranger -- and at times, fuller of distortion -- than ever before.

And that new fullness of sound suits the music well -- swirling shoegazer melodies spiked with sharp riffs, buzzy basslines, piano and carpets of colourful keyboard.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By George a Pletz on May 13, 2008
Format: Audio CD
Dan Bejar has been bringing superlative music to the indie scene for so long that it was just a matter of time before the critics ran out of words and got nervous. How long can somebody make music so soulful and intelligent before it became routine, before it just started to sound phoned in? The answer is not yet and maybe never. He has such an understanding of what makes his indie prog-pop rock works. He moves on a very fine edge. Too far one way and it is art for art's sake ( in other words, get ready to suffer) and, too far the other way and it is another puff piece that sounds fine but forgettable. The balance of quirk to craft is precise! The band here is tight and Dan's voice is mellowing into something which is nuanced but smooth. I am not even going to attempt to pick highlights. Like all good records, different musical and lyrical passages will jump out at you if you give the record the time to weave its magic. I believe that Trouble in Dreams is the ideal spot for the adventurous indie pop listener to jump in. This is a man and his band make the music they want and not giving a damn about current trends. Start here and work your way back. Just give it time. Soak in and get familiar. This is an album that gets better the more time you spend with it. It doesn't disappear into insignificance with knowledge. It just gets more grand with every spin.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Shane Carpenter on March 27, 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I wouldn't consider myself a fan of Dan Bejar. I began to listen to his solo work only after falling in love with the New Pornographers. And he was the last artist from that group that I purchased solo music from, Neko Case and A.C. Newman (respectively) being the first two.

I didn't care for Destoyer's first couple albums at all. Rubies came out and everyone including legitimate review sources were drinking the Destroyer Kool-Aid. Honestly, I didn't really care for that album either. It was alright, but it didn't compel me to put it in my music rotation. So I sold it. Then I bought it again, thinking I just wasn't "ready" for it. Then I sold it again.

Enter: Trouble In Dreams. A lot of people in the forums were saying this album was so much different than Rubies and even people who weren't fans of Rubies liked this album. I just had to give it a listen because I heard a few things on Rubies that I liked, and if Bejar improved upon them or changed direction a little bit, I just might consider myself a fan.

Well, I love this album. It's definitely my favorite Destroyer album and it has been on heavy rotation on my iPod. It's strange because the same musical elements are present on this album that were present in Rubies, but yet it's different. I guess it's something that has to be heard and compared to be understood. In any event, Dan Bejar and Destroyer can now consider me a fan.

Oh and by the way, I bought Rubies again and now I like it a lot as well.
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