CD Review: Destroyer — Trouble in Dreams

DestroyerTroubleinDreams Destroyer
Trouble in Dreams
Merge Records

By Micah
McLain

Dan Bejar makes unique music – whether it be flawless indie rock
as a part of the New Pornographers, challenging avant-garde pieces with Swan
Lake or laid-back orchestral pop under the cover of Destroyer. Trouble in
Dreams
, Destroyer's eighth release on the Merge imprint, picks up right
where his previous effort (2006's excellent Destroyer's Rubies) left off.
The songs are built up through the use of acoustic guitar with the gradual
addition of keys, percussion and electric guitar.

Trouble in Dreams is
more of a "studio" album than Bejar usually makes under the Destroyer moniker,
as it takes on a much dreamier, layered sound when compared to his earlier
work. Bejar continues to employ his impressively lazy drawl, making it sound as
if he's simply wandering through the songs draping his lyrics over the sparse
drum beats and atmospherics.

The lyrics on Trouble in Dreams,
like most Bejar-penned tunes, can be described as "literary" and somewhat
oblique, although this only draws the listener further into his compositions.
Lead single "Foam Hands" plays out like an obscure ode to lost love (or
something), with a soft organ and drum lead that gradually builds into gentle
electric guitar and Bejar's sluggish delivery of "True love regrets to inform
you/There are certain things/You must do/To perceive his face/And the
saints on the wall." It's not clear what the recurring "foam hands" chorus
signifies but that's part of the fun.

The contrastingly upbeat track, "Dark
Leaves Form a Thread," finds Bejar enthusiastically (and somewhat sarcastically)
singing, "So, should you still want me/You can find me down at the cafe/A
little bit too busy being served" amid high-pitched guitar, soaring synths and a
chorus of "na na na…"

Destroyer albums continue to reveal themselves upon
repeat listenings thanks to the subtle yet cinematic instrumentation and Bejar's
unique writing style. Regardless of who he works with, the consistently-prolific
Bejar continues to make significant contributions to the independent music scene
– and the new level of production and experimentation present on Trouble in
Dreams
is a strong signal that he doesn't plan to stop anytime soon.

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