destroyer

Dan Bejar recently admitted that his last album, 2011’s critically adored ‘Kaputt’ “happened to line up with a certain zeitgeist.” His most sprawling work in a decade, follow-up ‘Poison Season’ takes great pains to avoid any further lucky breaks.

The most propulsive thing here, lead single ‘Dream Lover’, is a fiery curveball – beginning in the heavens, it simply doesn’t know where to go from there. The brooding cop-show-theme funk of ‘Midnight Meet the Rain’ fares far better, as does a revised take on ‘Archer on the Beach’, suggesting that if Bejar had come out with ‘Kaputt 2.0’, it would have been incredible, if not entirely satisfying.

‘Poison Season’’s biggest development is Bejar’s newfound ability to write full-on torch songs – aside from a heartbreaking lyric about the pitfalls of fame (“It sucks when there’s nothing but gold in those hills…”), ‘Girl in a Sling’ lets its gorgeous spare string arrangement do the talking. Likewise, there’s no chance a song like ‘Hell’ – which, in three minutes, morphs from an ‘Eleanor Rigby’-style dirge to bouncing Bacharachian pop – will ever find itself on trend.

Compared with other Destroyer LPs, ‘Poison Season’ is a disjointed listen, surprisingly lacking the band’s usual brazen theatrics. Still, Dan Bejar remains indie rock’s last great shapeshifter, and it’s hard not to hear this as a stepping stone to another masterpiece.

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