Destroyer – Destroyer’s Rubies

Oh dear, I feel like I’m sitting graduate exams as I try to parse the lyrical and musical content of this new Destroyer CD. It doesn’t help that the denizens of the music critics’ universe have already had their kicks at the can, leaving me with a body of criticism mostly pro but definitely impassioned. I avoid going online to peruse the discourse of my peers and instead go it alone, catching phrases here and there of the verbose, West Coast poet’s onrush of couplets. I’ve never been the type to dwell on lyrics, sinking instead into the musical dynamics (of which there are plenty) but certain lines catch my ear-I wonder, each time it comes up, who the “Toronto painter who shot me down” is-before I drift. Drifting isn’t such a bad thing and Destroyer’s Dan Bejar rewards us unanchored types with glimmers of sense every time we visit and surprising hooks caught in our heads as we leave. But then again, I think, why should I bother? Bejar has reached the rarefied status of acknowledged-but-difficult genius; critical commentary has become a foregone conclusion that has no real world affect. His much lauded evasions have become a self-fulfilling prophecy whereby fence sitters need not apply and critic’s must “step up” (as my wife is wont to say) to go toe to toe with the object of their affection/admiration/consternation. But only the faithful will make the effort, so the resulting consensus goes without saying. Of course, if Destroyer released an album of warmed-over Blink 182 compositions, the bets would be off, but as long as he maintains his opacity, he rules the roost. (Terence Dick)

CD, Merge Records, www.mergerecords.com

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