|Poison Season (August 18th, 2015)
Destroyer — Poison Season (August 18th, 2015) • “Velká událost v písničkářském světě. Destroyer mám nejraději na albu Your Blues z roku 2004 (Merge Records). Nové album má velký zvuk, nezdá se mi však už tak dobré jako věci před dekádou.
• Je to jen první okamžitý dojem bez hlubších časových investic. Občas jeho postupy musím vydýchávat (Dream Lover), hned další píseň však už obsahuje tytéž prvky, které mám na Danově tvorbě nejraději. Opět je zde větší než malé množství smyčců. • Celkově se jeho odvaha blíží písničkářům úrovně Andrewa Birda a zejména Sufjana Stevense (The BQE). Peter Tabakis z Pretty Much Amazing označil toto album za “Opus”. Ani on se však neodvažuje album okamžitě hodnotit, až po opakovaném poslechu mu nakonec přiděluje nejvyšší ohodnocení “A”.
• Třetí od konce “Bangkok” se dá srovnat s nejlepšími věcmi Todda Rundgrena a společně s “Girl in a Sling” je asi nejlepší. Album je však opravdu Opus, těžko lze vytrhnout jednu píseň z celkové mozaiky. Písně jsou průměrně dlouhé, v rozmezí 2:34 ~ 5:52. Dan si udržel svou vysokou hlasovou kvalitu, vhodnou pro tento zvláštní vypravěčský styl. U jeho hlasu se dá na chvíli zastavit. Bejar mluvil s nádechem hrdosti o svém zrání jako zpěvákovi. “Toto je první album, které jsem kdy udělal, blížící se mé původní myšlence a aspiraci v pohledu na sebe sama jako zpěváka,” řekl magazínu Pitchfork. Tato “hodnotící idea” sebe “jako zpěváka” musí zahrnovat pozdní období Boba Dylana. Jen málo umělců nachází inspiraci v Dylanově post–“Time Out of Mind” vokálním frázování. (Pokud vy ano a jste mladší než 50 let, prosím, dejte mi vědět). Ne že by Bejar přesně napodoboval Dylana a ani jeho hlas není v žádném případě bomba. Ale vypůjčuje si klíčové stylistické prvky, zejména s ohledem na dýchání a skloňování. Před týdnem jsem poslouchal “Shadows in the Night” ještě před obdržením “Poison Season”. Podobnosti jsou z dnešního pohledu poučné, pokud ne až překvapující. Shadows je, koneckonců, Sinatra covers album. Dan Bejar žertoval pro Pitchfork, že jeho nový zvuk je zčásti “Destroyer at the Sands”. Výsledek? Bejar splňuje zadání Sinatry, ten "potkává" Bejara, no a Bejar je ovlivněn Dylanem, ten zase je ovlivněn Sinatrou. To dává smysl. U druhého poslechu už jsem z “té symfonie ducha” nadšen. Poison Season je geniální album.” (B.T.A.; Score 9¼)
• Dan Bejar started Destroyer as a solo home–recording project in the early to mid–nineties. Exploring and overturning genres such as glam, MIDI, yacht rock, and even underground Spanish independent artists, Bejar was proclaimed “Rock’s Exiled King” by The Fader. His is a body of work that consistently flouts convention in favor of musical leaps of faith, statements of purpose cloaked in subterfuge, and the joyous refrain of an optimist’s heart cloaked in cynicism.
• An eclectic one–man indie band informed by the precocious songwriting and singing of Dan Bejar.
Formed: 1995 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Album release: August 18th, 2015
Record Label: Dead Oceans
01 Time Square, Poison Season I 2:34
02 Dream Lover 3:49
03 Forces from Above 5:52
04 Hell 3:18
05 The River 3:36
06 Girl In a Sling 3:05
07 Times Square 4:11
08 Archer on the Beach 4:56
09 Midnight Meet the Rain 3:25
10 Solace's Bride 3:44
11 Bangkok 5:14
12 Sun In the Sky 5:34
13 Time Square, Poison Season II 3:05
℗ 2015 Merge RecordsDescription:
• On August 28, Destroyer returns with a new full–length, Poison Season. In addition, a two–song 12–inch that includes a remix of album track “Forces From Above” and the orchestral version of “Times Square, Poison Season” will be released as a companion to the record.
• Poison Season opens with Vancouver native Dan Bejar swathed in Hunky Dory strings. He’s a dashboard Bowie surveying four wracked characters — Jesus, Jacob, Judy, Jack — simultaneously Biblical and musical theatre. This bittersweet, Times Square–set fanfare is reprised twice more on the record — first as swaying, saxophone–stoked “street–rock” and then finally as a curtain–closing reverie.
• “The first and last songs are actually one song tracked live with quintet,” explains their author. “I even sang with the band. That song always swung between super austere and super mid–’70s Springsteen/Bowie street–rock. In the end, I decided I wanted both. Couldn’t really figure out a way to sequence the orchestral version within the record, so I decided to carve it up as a book–ending motif, with the rock version squarely in the middle.”
• Mr. Bejar has long displayed a chameleonic instinct for change while maintaining a unified aesthetic (rather than just pinballing between reference points). No two records sound the same, but they’re always uniquely Destroyer. His latest incarnation often appears to take sonic cues from a distinctly British (usually Scottish, to be precise) strain of sophisti–pop: you might hear traces of Aztec Camera, Prefab Sprout, Orange Juice, or The Blow Monkeys. These songs merge a casual literary brilliance with intense melodic verve, nimble arrangements, and a certain blue–eyed–soul sadness.
• Dbl–LP on limited–edition clear vinyl, while supplies last. LP includes a coupon for a full download. Preorders will ship to arrive on or around the release date of August 28.
Dbl-LP + 12–inch Bundle consists of Destroyer's new full–length, Poison Season, and a two–song 12–inch that includes a remix of album track “Forces From Above” and the orchestral version of “Times Square, Poison Season.”REVIEW
PETER TABAKIS; JUL 26, 2015; Score: A
• Destroyer’s tenth album looms tall in a year crammed with skyscrapers.
Let’s get right to the point: Poison Season is a caustic, beguiling masterpiece. In a year already crammed with skyscrapers, Destroyer’s new LP looms taller still. Like me, you may, at first, bristle at its atonal flourishes and refrigerator poetry. But early impressions can be misleading. This thread of 13 tunes, each track a barbed knot, hangs slack as it first snakes into the ear. Be patient. Play it again. The album will soon burrow deep and find the reward center of your hypothalamus. On the fourth or fifth spin (it may take a few more), something miraculous will happen. Twisty song structures and winding instrumental asides will straighten out. They’ll reveal aural riches. And then — synapses will blaze, dopamine will rush.
• Dan Bejar can be as prickly as his songs. During interviews he often alternates between angry, get–off–my–lawn windbaggery and staunch, rockist heroism. I tend to play down his rants against contemporary pop stardom. Better to focus on his full–throated advocacy for pure musicianship. (Yes, I realize both sentiments are, for him, interchangeable. I try to ignore that too.) Kaputt, 2011’s schlock marvel, brought Destroyer critical acclaim and a much larger audience. To the surprise of no one, Bejar became unhappy with fame. He especially loathed its side duties, those big festival slots and late–night television appearances. So he retreated, hoping “the world at large” would “[forget] Kaputt ever happened.” That‘s what he told Pitchfork in a recent feature. (Bejar repeated those words, more or less, to DIY.) To which I reply: Fat chance, Dan.• The passage of time has, if anything, only ginned up expectations. But Poison Season — no retread, no retreat — shrugs off such accumulated baggage with aplomb. It eschews Kaputt’s smooth sounds for a sneaky, slanted kind of grandeur. Despite an overarching shagginess, this is an almost seamless artistic and conceptual exercise. Poison Season makes its predecessor appear minor by comparison, like a tuneful lark.
• Destroyer’s tenth full–length release is an overcorrection, an act of penance of sorts. Bejar has pared down his sonic palette to the barest of acoustic bones. Sayonara, electronic instrumentation and studio trickery! Living and breathing performances rule this roost instead. Even the guitar, that back–to–basics stalwart, plays a mere supporting role on Poison Season. (Alas, he’s also chucked out background vocals. Too bad. Sibel Thrasher’s soulful interjections remain my favorite part of Kaputt.) Horns, keys, and strings once embellished Destroyer’s songs here and there. Now they waltz hand in hand into the spotlight, through shifting, sometimes amorphous, compositions. Bejar can’t help but succumb to his basest pop instincts at least twice. “Dream Lover” and “Times Square”, glorious rock numbers both, may be your initial favorites. If so, savor them. The vast majority of Poison Season spurns such undemanding pleasures.
• In fact, a song called “Hell” — do note its title — better represents the album as a whole. And it does so with lyrical brevity and musical wit. “Hell” begins with jabbing, ostinato string phrases and a regal trumpet melody. Bejar sings of “coming home” to life on the road, like “a wheel set into motion.” A low–brass oompah enters as he evokes homicidal politicians and flyby angels. The song takes a deep breath; its strings lilt into a tremolo. Piano chords fill the silence. They underscore a bit of self–loathing (“Look what I’ve become/ scum/ a relic”). Two drumsticks tap and then “Hell” swings, full gear, into a brassy celebration. “It’s hell down here, it’s hell,” Bejar repeats, mantra–like. Out of nowhere, a flute trills once (and only once, on the entire album). By the end, I picture a row of demonic Rockettes performing a spirited kickline. It’s the single best image that can match such flamboyant desperation. In less than three–and–a–half minutes, we’ve gotten a feverish portrait of show business. (I suppose?) We’ve also gotten a breathless, swirling tour of two or three musical styles. • If this isn’t what you’d call expert songwriting and craft, I don’t know what is. And to think, “Hell” isn’t even Poison Season’s finest track.
• Bejar has spoken, with a touch of pride, about his maturation as a vocalist. “This is the first record that I’ve ever done that comes close to my idea of myself as a singer,” he told Pitchfork. This “idea” of himself “as a singer” has to include late–period Bob Dylan. Few artists find inspiration in Dylan’s post–Time Out of Mind vocal phrasing. (If they’re out there, and are younger than 50, please let me know.) Bejar doesn’t exactly mimic Dylan, and his voice is by no means shot. But he borrows key stylistic elements, particularly with regard to breathing and inflection. I recently listened to Shadows in the Night back to back with Poison Season. The similarities were illuminating, if not surprising. Shadows is, after all, a Sinatra covers album. Dan Bejar joked to Pitchfork that his new sound was, in part, “Destroyer at the Sands.” So: Bejar meets Sinatra meets Bejar meets Dylan meets Sinatra. Makes perfect sense to me.
• Poison Season resembles nothing else on the musical landscape today. But deep influences and orthogonal comparisons do flash into mind during its 53–minute runtime. Strands of Astral Weeks weave through the jazziest of these tunes (“Archer on the Beach”, “Forces from Above”, “Solace’s Bride”). You can hear Bowie’s mid–70s plastic soul most on “Times Square”, but also on patches of “Sun in the Sky”, “Bangkok”, and “The River”. “Dream Lover” is as blatant a love letter to Springsteen’s Born to Run heyday as you can get. (If I didn’t know better, I’d swear it contains a Clarence Clemons tenor–sax sample.) The best homage of all is also the weirdest, and it comes on “Midnight Meets the Rain”. The song channels Alan Tew's “The Big One”, also known as the theme to The People’s Court. As you can tell, Dan Bejar hasn’t yet lost his arch sense of humor.
• Like Streethawk: A Seduction, Destroyer’s fourth LP, Poison Season ends where it begins. The album opens with “Times Square, Poison Season I”, a hazy criticism of the record industry. (I guess?) It closes with “Times Square, Poison Season II”, a murky rebuke to commercial radio. (Maybe?) Between these bookends, Dan Bejar employs dream–logic lyricism to air a multiplicity of grievances. There are moments of great beauty (“Girl in a Sling”) and spirit (“Dream Lover”) within the thematic darkness. Poison Season’s first and last tracks meet in the middle on “Times Square”. When they join together, every woe evaporates. In his Pitchfork interview, Bejar pondered how he would respond if we somehow stopped caring about his work. “I’m not gonna come to a grinding halt if, all of a sudden, people aren’t writing about a Destroyer record.” I play Poison Season again and consider such a world. Ha, ha, ha. Fat chance, Dan. • http://prettymuchamazing.com/ / Website: http://danielbejar.com/REVIEW
Chris Buckle | 30 Jul 2015 | Score: *****
• How do you follow a masterpiece? You go ahead and make another one. That’s been Dan Bejar’s tactic anyway, with his latest Destroyer release reflecting and extending the high–gloss beauty of 2011’s career peak Kaputt, and taking several more strides down an increasingly peerless musical path.
• Back in May, the stirring E–Street rock of lead single Dream Lover suggested Bejar had liberated his inner Springsteen, setting aside the previous album’s rich sophisti–pop for something more openly heart on sleeve. But, true to form, Poison Season’s true nature is more nuanced and idiosyncratic, taking cues from a spectrum of influences from chamber pop to nocturnal jazz.
• The album’s wide stylistic sampling is foregrounded by the recurrent Times Square, which studs the tracklisting three times in varied guises, as if Bejar couldn’t bear to narrow down the infinite compositional possibilities to a single arrangement. The brass stabs and wailing guitars of Midnight Meets the Rain, meanwhile, tread similar sidewalks to Isaac Hayes’ Theme from Shaft, albeit accompanied by an air of melancholy more akin to fellow night/rain enthusiasts The Blue Nile. Somehow, Bejar ensures all these pieces fit together seamlessly, and the picture that emerges feels damn close to perfect. • http://www.theskinny.co.uk/
Label: http://www.mergerecords.com/destroyer © Photo credit: DJ Envert
Artist Biography by Terrance Miles
• Dan Bejar started Destroyer as a solo project in Vancouver in 1995. His first album, We'll Build Them a Golden Bridge, was an electric folk record, setting the stage for the early Bowie comparisons that were certain to follow his particular vocal style. In 1998, Bejar added a rhythm section and took it into the studio for the first time. The resulting recording, City of Daughters, is a sparsely produced collection of catchy pop songs in which Bejar's increasingly obtuse lyrics really start to stand out. Thief, again recorded in Vancouver, was released in 2000, but by then the lineup had expanded into a quintet. The sparse production and the Bowie comparisons remained, but Bejar's cryptic lyrics and unique voice gave this rant against the music industry an original quality missing from many of that year's releases. The following year would see Destroyer's fourth album, Streethawk: A Seduction. Streethawk begins right where Thief leaves off. The production and the sound remain solid, but the lyrics have become even more obtuse, stuck somewhere between literacy and nonsense. This Night was the next release, an oblique and melodic album that portrayed Bejar as a ranting, depressed singer.
• Destroyer has not been the only vehicle for Bejar's talents — he is also one of the songwriters (along with Carl Newman of Zumpano) responsible for the much–acclaimed New Pornographers' Mass Romantic (Mint Records). This Night, which appeared in fall 2002, marked his first for Merge. His quirkiest material to date was captured on 2004's Your Blues. In 2005 Bejar collaborated with touring partners Frog Eyes on Notorious Lightning and Other Works, a six–track EP containing re–recorded versions of material from Your Blues with Frog Eyes as the backing band. He also contributed three songs to the New Pornographers' critically acclaimed Twin Cinema and spent the better part of that year on tour with the Canadian supergroup. February 2006 saw the release of Destroyer's Rubies, a return to the guitar–based sound of This Night with a touch of Streethawk–era drama. After devoting some more time to the New Pornographers, Swan Lake, and a collaboration with visual artist Sydney Vermont called Hello, Blue Roses, he returned to the sanctuary of his solo project, and released his eighth record, Trouble in Dreams, in March of 2008. The following year saw the release of Swan Lake's second outing, Enemy Mine, as well as the ambient Bay of Pigs EP (Destroyer). He contributed three tracks to the New Pornographers' fifth studio album, 2010's Together, before releasing 2011's Kaputt, his ninth LP under the Destroyer moniker. In 2013, Bejar issued the Five Spanish Songs EP, which featured material written by Spanish musician Antonio Luque of the band Sr. Chinarro. The following summer brought the well–received sixth New Pornographers record, Brill Bruisers, which included three Bejar–penned tunes. A second Hello, Blue Roses album appeared in February 2015 titled WZO, and Destroyer's strings– and saxophone–imbued Poison Season followed that summer.
• 09/18/15 Portland, OR Wonder Ballroom
• 09/19/15 San Francisco, CA The Fillmore
• 09/20/15 Los Angeles, CA The Regent Theatre
• 09/21/15 Phoenix, AZ The Crescent Ballroom
• 09/23/15 Austin, TX The Mohawk
• 09/24/15 Dallas, TX Trees
• 09/25/15 Lawrence, KS The Granada
• 09/26/15 Minneapolis, MN Fine Line Music Cafe
• 09/27/15 Chicago, IL Thalia Hall
• 09/29/15 Detroit, MI The Loving Touch
• 09/30/15 Toronto, ON Danforth Music Hall
• 10/01/15 Montreal, QC Theatre Fairmount
• 10/02/15 Boston, MA Royale
• 10/03/15 Philadelphia, PA Underground Arts
• 10/04/15 New York, NY Webster Hall
• 10/05/15 Washington , DC 9:30 Club
• 10/07/15 Asheville, NC Grey Eagle
• 10/08/15 Carrboro, NC Cat's Cradle
• 10/09/15 Atlanta, GA The Loft
• 10/10/15 Nashville, TN Mercy Lounge
• 10/11/15 St. Louis, MO The Ready Room
• 10/13/15 Denver, CO The Bluebird Theater
• 10/14/15 Salt Lake City, UT Urban Lounge
• 10/15/15 Boise, ID Neurolux
• 10/16/15 Seattle, WA Neptune Theatre
• 10/17/15 Vancouver, BC The Commodore Ballroom
• 10/29/15 Paris France Pitchfork Music Festival
• 10/30/15 London United Kingdom Islington Assembly Hall
• 10/31/15 Brighton United Kingdom The Haunt
• 11/01/15 Leeds United Kingdom Brudenell Social Club
• 11/02/15 Bristol United Kingdom The Lantern
• 11/04/15 Brussels Belgium Botanique
• 11/07/15 Bologna Italy Covo
• 11/08/15 Milan Italy Biko
• 11/09/15 Luzern Switzerland Sudpol
• 11/10/15 Lausanne Switzerland Le Romandie
• 11/11/15 St. Gallen Switzerland Palace
• 11/12/15 Vienna Austria Sczene
• 11/13/15 Munich Germany Kammerspiele
• 11/14/15 Cologne Germany Luxor
• 11/15/15 Berlin Germany Lido
• 11/17/15 Bergen Norway Hulen
• 11/18/15 Oslo Norway Parkteatret
• 11/19/15 Stockholm Sweden Kagelbanan
• 11/20/15 Copenhagen Denmark Pumpehuset
• 11/21/15 Utrecht Netherlands Le Guess Who? Festival_____________________________________________________________
|Poison Season (August 18th, 2015)