reviewed by Jack Derricourt
“Oh shit here comes the sun,” Destroyer proclaims on his new album Poison Season. I feel the absence of that sentiment already, as if the last flickers of scorching, abrasive heat leave me colder than impending fall ever could. It’s nice of Destroyer to lend me a hand and help me remember my hate of the balmy weather all year long. If you’re not familiar with Vancouver’s Dan Bejar, and his quirky poetry musing records yet, then you’re coming late to the party: 2011’s Kaputt was generally recognized by an academy of my peers as the most Princess Bride sounding album of the 2000s. It was also shortlisted for Polaris and one of the Hoefork’s favourite flava flavs of the millennium.
Poison Season is a beautiful egg full of new ideas. While Kaputt featured wide, deep echo, swaggering chorus, intimate 80s club atmosphere and the like, the majority of the new recordings are modern in voice, spacious and quiet. There are very dry, organic strings featured on several parts of the album — most wonderfully on “Forces From Above,” a scenic escapade of a track that sways to jazzy drum work. Fans familiar with Bejar’s Archer on the Beach EP, featuring his collaboration with immaculate noise artist Tim Hecker, will be excited to see the eponymous track make an appearance on this new record. Fans unfamiliar with said blast from the beach of time will enjoy the swelling brass and its tuneful manipulation accompanied by jazz piano licks for close to six minutes of zodiac boat rock.
Single “Dream Lover” stands apart, sounding most in line with Destroyer’s more aged material. A Phil Spector sax blares, guitars and piano join in the rock and roll bash, and typical boy-girl-strife lyrics punctuate the laptop speakers with positivity precluding prismatic palpitations. This single will literally kill you with pop sensitivity.
The triptych of “Times Square,” “Times Square, Poison Season I,” and “Times Square, Poison Season II” offers more than just the most passionate elucidation of a place name put to Canadian wax. The three songs set the tone of the record: reverent, fixed and imaginary, a ghost hymn.
This is easily one of the smartest records of the year so far. It should go a long way to being one of the smartest next year as well. Have fun.
Top Tracks: “Times Square, Poison Season I” ; “Forces From Above”
Rating: Hunting Call (Excellent) + *swoop*