Fri May 2
Berbati's Pan - 10 SW 3rd
"I bought some books on the road, but I just threw them out the window." Such is the reckless wonder of Dan Bejar, the brain and body behind Destroyer. He's been receiving a lot of attention lately for supposedly scholarly songwriting, and his erudite lyrics do unfold like literary fictions. However, listening to Your Blues, his latest album, I get the impression that, just as Bejar has thrown the books out the window, he's started wandering, traveling with no distinct destination.
This rebellious wanderlust informs Bejar's new songs--regal extrapolations on the singer/songwriter formula that combine melodious acoustic guitar with a fake string section and some of the cheesiest synthesizer settings ever known to man. Even so, Bejar surpasses the kitsch of whiny MIDI horns and atmospheric sound effects with the sincerity of his delivery. The prize of the album is his voice, ripe with the confident style of a one-man cabaret. The songs express a fearless meandering, throbbing with pompous toy trumpets, enchanting plastic pianos and military snares. Bejar narrates like a visiting troubadour, spinning tales of love, exploration and discovery. On tracks like "From Oakland to Warsaw," keyboard strings accompany his defiant proclamations: "You thought you'd heard of everything... Hell, no!" Lyrical rebellion abounds, reflecting Bejar's frustration with narrowing musical boundaries. When I asked him what exactly bothered him about current trends in the ambiguous family tree of "rock" music, he replied: "Just most of it. Stuff that's not very inspired--how it gets labeled 'good' or 'cool.' How people buy it, then stop buying it five months later, and move onto the next thing."
With clever lyrical turns like "Explosions want to see what they can find: new ways of living!" and a slew of gentle, theatrical synthesizers, Bejar's exploratory musical drama is a rebellion worthy of opera houses and dive bars alike.