Music Review: 'Poison Season,' Destroyer

Music Review: 'Poison Season,' Destroyer

6:24am Oct 20, 2015

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

The musician we're going to hear about goes by the name Destroyer. You might expect heavy metal. Well, not exactly.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MIDNIGHT MEET THE RAIN")

DESTROYER: (Singing) You make a plea for me to come to my senses, just like the time before, the time before that. Visit the symphony and I smell a rat. Well, midnight, meet the rain.

SIEGEL: Destroyer's real name is Dan Bejar, and he's from Vancouver, Canada. Reviewer Will Hermes says the destruction this singer manages is in his remarkable and sometimes ironic way with language. Here's Will's take on Destroyer's latest album. It's called "Poison Season."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TIMES SQUARE, POISON SEASON I")

DESTROYER: (Singing) Jesus is beside himself. Jacob is in a state of decimation. The writing on the wall wasn't writing at all - just forces of nature in love with a weather station.

WILL HERMES, BYLINE: Dan Bejar is a great rock 'n' roll musician in part because you sense he thinks the whole enterprise is slightly ridiculous. Perhaps never in the music's history has the sound of quotation marks around lyrics come through so clearly...

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TIMES SQUARE, POISON SEASON I")

DESTROYER: (Singing) The writing on the wall said Jesus saves. The writing on the wall mentions honey playing a game with the waves. You can follow a rose wherever it grows. You can fall in love with Times Square. Times Square.

HERMES: ...But one of the reasons I think "Poison Season" could be Bejar's best record is how completely he sounds invested in these lyrics. Part of it is his phrasing, which has always been flamboyant, but it takes on a new sort of precision here.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HELL IS AN OPEN DOOR")

DESTROYER: (Singing) Baby, it's dumb. Look what I've become. Scum. A relic. A satellite. I was born bright. Now I'm dark as a well, a kite washed up on the shoreline. It's hell down here. It's hell. It's hell down here. It's hell. It's hell down here. It's hell. It's hell down here. It's hell. It's hell...

HERMES: Part of the record's gravity is also in the extravagant arrangements, kind of a hallucinatory channeling, orchestrated 1950s balladry and classic rock radio. But what I like most about the album is how it balances irony with a giving in to the seduction of the music. It suggests a person for whom the apex of emotional expression, inescapably and maybe embarrassingly, might actually be a pop song. And that's a person I think a lot of us can recognize.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BANGKOK")

DESTROYER: (Singing) So bring out your dead, bring out the light and bring out your dog. Birds in flight. Bring out your red roses too. Hey, what's got into Sunny? Bring out your dead, bring out the light and bring out your dog. Birds in flight. Bring out your red roses too. Hey, what's got into Sunny?

SIEGEL: The new record from Destroyer is called "Poison Season." Our critic, Will Hermes, is the author of "Love Goes To Buildings On Fire."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BANGKOK")

DESTROYER: (Singing) Hey, what's got into Sunny? Bring out your dead, bring out the light and bring out your dog. Birds in flight. Bring out your red roses too. Hey, what's got into Sunny? Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Support your
public radio station