Destroyer – Trouble in Dreams

Destroyer
Trouble in Dreams

With every album he has made in his long and successful career, Dan Bejar has such a distinctive sound to call his own. Whether it’s his unique voice, his loosely-constructed songs, his diverse use of wordplay or maybe just his knack for melodies, every one of his albums is a fresh breath of air. And with Destroyer’s latest album, Trouble in Dreams, Bejar adds a great accompaniment/follow-up to 2006’s breakthrough, Destroyer’s Rubies.

The album begins with the gentle and sparse, “Blue Flower/Blue Frame.” Bejar adds a wonderful guitar and piano melody to his clever and often funny lyrics. While the music flourishes, he sings, “A woman by another name is not a woman. I’ll tell you what I mean by that. Maybe not in seconds flat, maybe not today…” And that’s exactly what we expect from a Destroyer album, a fun and good ol’ time.

And maybe that’s what’s just so refreshing about Bejar’s music. I’d be hard-pressed to name any other artist that sounds remotely close to his music. Even the aforementioned lyrics, what exactly do they mean? They could be a nice foreshadowing to some lyrical content on a future album, i.e. he will tell us what he “means” on his next album. Maybe it’s stating that a woman who isn’t herself isn’t a real woman, simple as that. Naturally, I’d choose the more complex reasoning that only Bejar really knows what he means but the music is just too fulfilling, it’s remarkable.

Now, some will complain that Trouble in Dreams doesn’t thread any new ground and it doesn’t. However, this isn’t an issue because good music is good music, period. The fuzzy end of “The State” leads perfectly into the serene and organ-filled “Foam Hands” — a wonderful piece of regret and love lost. The song flows in and out of focus with a lovely, melodic guitar line and a driving bass line.

And the epic song on here, the near eight minute tour de force, “Shooting Rockets (From the Desk of Night’s Ape)” is vividly sequenced in the middle of the album. It’s an atmospheric grower that features some timely piano and repetitive guitar. And the lyrical content on this one is all over the place, it’s a song that begs to be examined.

The music on here is just so pleasant; this is truly a gifted and talented musician at work. The way that “Introducing Angels” builds is an example of amazing craftsmanship, the magnificent melody on “Dark Leaves from a Thread” is fantastic and the terrific “Libby’s First Sunrise” is a great way to close the album. With 53 minutes of superb music, this is one beast of an album.

Destroyer has clearly picked up where it left off and the music on this eleven song album is utterly exceptional. Regardless of whether or not people wanted a change, this album is a fine addition to Bejar’s ever-growing credits. You won’t find another album that sounds quite like this all year and that’s just fine, because Trouble in Dreams is surely to be one of the highly regarded albums come year end.