Album Review: Destroyer – Poison Season

Poison Season is refreshingly intricate in an indie genre overcrowded with clashing chords and overly direct choruses, writes

6c7895a5 Rating:  ★★★★☆

Dan Bejar’s follow up to 2011’s Kaputt displays inklings of what we have come to expect from his project Destroyer. Which is to say a changing organism of a band,  at its nucleus a man never content with a single style.“Whether people show up or not, I’m just gonna keep doing it”, he said in a recent interview.

His wit and intelligence as a songwriter remain intact as always and he beds his prose and wry lyricism in a garden of swooning instrumentation that feels refreshingly intricate in an indie genre overcrowded with clashing chords and overly direct choruses.

It’s by no means an exercise in self indulgence however. Instead of over feeding us musically, Bejar keeps a balance to the tracks on Poison Season. Songs such as ‘The River‘ croon slowly and unfold wonderfully with a sleepy whimsy that really cements Bejar’s underrated ability as a master of atmosphere. Every song seems to encapsulate what his lyrics want to talk about whether it be the trappings of a city, the music industry and the age old themes of love. Bejar’s best skill is directing his band in perfect synchronicity with whatever tone his lyrics aim for.

The leading single in this album, ‘Times Square‘, recurs in two parts throughout the album as well as having a single version. It’s easy to mistake this trio of songs as forced pretension, and maybe you’d be right to assume this upon reading the track list. But Bejar is smarter than that, keeping a firm continuity in his lyrics that feel as though he is trying to convey a message rather than fulfill some artistic promise.

This album is not for everyone, however. Its easy to view this as a vanity project of thoughts; Bejar wallowing in his own wit, amusing himself with his clever plays on words and overflowing musical meandering. It’s an album for the patient listener, those willing to take their music in long form, never giving so much as a hook to latch onto before it drifts back into a winding verse or three.

By all means it’s a solid album – though lacking the flavour of Kaputt, an album that’s just as lyrically astute as Season – but there are dull moments that one will  find upon repeat listening. It might not be Bejar’s fault; this albums feels imbued with a personification. It’s a few crowns too many, perhaps, that leaves the album feeling a few steps away from being truly great.

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