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The gap between reality and ruse in Dan Bejar’s work as Destroyer is often a heady, maddening space to occupy. While there’s still mystery and misdirection on his new album, Poison Season is nakedly ambitious and utterly satisfying.
Compared to his dense lyrics in previous efforts, Bejar says less, but his phrasing and delivery render places, ideas and people vividly. The songs shift between lush pop rock and ornate, evolving pieces.
Dream Lover’s closest cousin sonically is Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, but not in the glorified vintage way that the War on Drugs evoke. It’s a contemporary E Street jam, measured by Bejar’s hilariously grumpy subversion, “Oh shit, here comes the sun.”
Often, layers of instrumentation are utilized sparingly. Forces From Above contains an alluring percussion bed: a kit and hand drums mingle with a halting bass line, while Bejar sings in fits and starts.
The real stars are the “classical” analog instruments. Poison Season employs strings, piano and horns to perfectly complement Bejar’s even, offhand delivery of lines that, when stitched together, make up a droll, wondrous travelogue of storied metropolitan meccas.
Top track: Midnight Meet the Rain
Listen to Dream Lover here. Destroyer plays the Danforth Music Hall September 30.