It’s been, amazingly, a full two decades since Destroyer, the Indie Rock, Dan Bejar-led darlings from Vancouver, BC, came onto the scene with their 16 lo-fi home recordings a.k.a. their first official release We’ll Build Them A Golden Bridge. To keep the kind of momentum needed to throw themselves into their next decade, last Friday. Destroyer released a record that caught even the most casual of listener off guard.
The usually much more upfront, abrasive and a sort of “beautiful mess of sounds” Destroyer’s most recent release Poison Season is anything but. Growing on the success of Kaputt, an album largely inspired by Miles David and Roxy Music, Bejar has developed a more structured and almost cinematic piece of work. Singing with a broader range and finally going with a full, live band (along with a very pronounced string secion) Poison Season reflects the coming of age of a group and artist that have finally perched atop the world of indie-rock stardom.
Poison Season sounds almost seamless and is very close to being a ‘perfect record’. No matter what context Bejar sets himself in – a string quartet, a large horn section or an almost drug-induced sweetness, this record illustrates Bejar’s complete control of the music at hand, and as long as the listener can trust in him the chaos is welcomed and celebrated.
This record, overall, speaks to what critics love about music – creativity, narrative, grit, playfulness, gracefulness, beauty and an artistry of his craft. Poison Season may be the best chamber pop record since Sufjan Stevens’ Illinoise… And in the same vein as Sufjan, the casual listener might be turned away by a sort of perceived sense that ‘something new = something weird’. However, everything that should be offputting about this record is exactly what makes it so enjoyable to listen to. Good luck trying not to like this record, in its best moments, it’s an irresistible masterpiece.