When not part-timing with indie super group The New Pornographers, Dan Bejar is busy fronting his band Destroyer. And for the fourth time this decade Destroyer has released an outstanding album with Your Blues. Sounding at times like David Bowie and or Roger Waters, Bejar stacks this album with lush pop sounds and gorgeous orchestrations that challenge and sooth the listener at the same time.
“Notorious Lightning” starts with an extended a cappella that evokes an image of a dramatic Bejar performing on Broadway under a single spotlight. Soon enough tremendous synth sounds spring up in the background and the song becomes a powerful epic. The song ends with Bejar screaming “AND SOMEONE’S GOT TO FALL BEFORE SOMEONE GOES FREE!” This could very well be the musical moment of 2004.
Bejar continues with a flare for the dramatic on “An Actor’s Revenge” where in the hands of anyone else a line like “The kids twist and shout until the womb fucking wrecks it” might fail horribly. On Your Blues though, it fits perfectly with the fine guitar playing, hand claps, and booming drums, and everything falls into place. The album hits a lull for a few songs towards the end, while “The Fox And The Hound” could have been left off altogether.
“What Road” is another beautiful few minutes of pop music. More gentle guitar strumming and orchestrations so delicate you can barely hear them at times, Bejar even manages to drop a Smiths reference before the sound builds into a gigantic close with the lyric “Yes, that’s right, I wanted you too.” There are moments when you’ll be mesmerized at the layers each individual song contains, and you’ll hear something new on each listen. Bejar’s lyrics are clever but can be heartbreaking. While three songs short of a perfect album, Your Blues is a necessary statement from one of today’s most promising voices.