Destroyer – Trouble in Dreams
Acquired: Love Garden, New, 2008
I don’t think Dan Bejar can make a bad record. I just don’t. Maybe it’s the unbridled fan boy inside of me, but everything since City of Daughters has been a gem. Trouble in Dreams is fairly straight forward but it still feels like the logical follow up to the pretty much awesomely unhinged Destroyer’s Rubies. It has a couple of clear-cut pop jams (“Dark Leaves Form a Thread” and “Rivers”). It has a couple of beautiful ballads (“Foam Hands” (which almost made me cry the first time I heard it) and “Blue Flower/Blue Flame”). It has a really long, fucking weird song in the middle (“Shooting Rockets” is Trouble in Dreams’ “Looters’ Follies”). It has a fucking amazing, epic closer (“Libby’s First Sunrise”). The solo-electric videos of Bejar playing “Foam Hands” and “Rivers” at the Sled Island Festival blew my mind when I saw them months and months before the record came out. “Foam Hands” is incredibly simple but it might be Bejar’s most affecting song to date. “Shooting Rockets” is a reworking of a track from the first Swan Lake record, and it’s the one where the influence of Carey Mercer is most evident. Actually, one of the most interesting things about Swan Lake has been watching Bejar, Mercer, and Spencer Krug influence one another. For instance, Sunset Rubdown’s absolutely fantastic Random Spirit Lover had Mercer-esque sonic flourishes and Bejar-esque lyricisms. Krug’s mastery of pop-song craft seems to have influenced on Bejar on “Dark Leaves Form a Thread” and “Introducing Angels.” Anyway, it’s just fun to watch. Trouble in Dreams has elements of every other Destroyer record and I think that’s why I like it so much. At the same time it’s really fresh. I spent a good three months with it and every couple weeks I had a new favorite song (before settling on “Libby’s First Sunrise,” mostly for the synesthetic quality) and I’m sure now that I’m re-listening to it, I’ll have a new favorite soon enough.