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Destroyer's 'Poison Season' opens swathed in Hunky Dory strings. Dan Bejar's a dashboard Bowie surveying four wracked characters - Jesus, Jacob, Judy, Jack - simultaneously Biblical and musical theatre. This bittersweet, Times Square-set fanfare is reprised twice more on the record--first as swaying, saxophone-stoked 'street-rock' and then finally as a curtain-closing reverie. Broadway Danny Bejar dramatically switches scenes with 'Dream Lover,' all Style Council strut and brassy, radio-ready bombast (echoes of The Boo Radleys' evergreen earworm 'Wake Up Boo!'). This being Destroyer, its paramours-on-the-run exuberance is judiciously spiked by his deadpan delivery: "Oh shit, here comes the sun..." Like the other DB, Mr. Bejar has long displayed a chameleonic instinct for change while maintaining a unified aesthetic (rather than just pinballing between reference points). No two records sound the same, but they're always uniquely Destroyer. His latest incarnation often appears to take sonic cues from a distinctly British (usually Scottish, to be precise) strain of sophisti-pop: you might hear traces of Aztec Camera, Prefab Sprout, Orange Juice, or The Blow Monkeys. These songs merge a casual literary brilliance with intense melodic verve, nimble arrangements, and a certain blue-eyed soul sadness. Playfully rueful, 'Sun in the Sky' foregrounds cryptic lyrical dexterity over pop-classicist strum before gradually left-fielding into rhythmically supple, delirious avant-squall. It's as if Talk Talk took over a Lloyd Cole show. Originally released on a collaborative EP with electronic maestros Tim Hecker and Loscil (the latter's drones are retained here), a retooled 'Archer on the Beach' suggests Sade swimming in The Blue Nile, smooth-jazz marimba melancholy dilated by ecstatic ambience. Flecked in heady dissonance, elusively alluring, Dan hymns its eponymous "impossible raver on your death bed" while implicitly beckoning the listener: "Careful now, watch your step, in you go." That's 'Poison Season' in essence: familiar yet mysterious, opaquely accessible. Arch, for sure, but ultimately elevatory.
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