Destroyer – City of Daughters/Thief
Nominal Records, 2009 (Re-issue)
Acquired: Christmas Gift, New, 2009
If Dan Bejar writes a song in the woods, is there a rabid fanboy there to hear him sing it? I'd like to think that rabid fanboy is me, someone who fawns over Dan Bejar the way some people do the Beatles, or what have you. For everyone who says that there's no good new music, you no longer need to desperately cling to the past. City of Daughters is Bejar's first proper LP, following a couple of really muddy cassette releases (which awesomely feature early versions of “Breakin' the Law” and “Streets of Fire,” which later went on to be recorded with much success by Bejar's other band, the New Pornographers). Lots of acoustic guitars like the tapes, but it sounds like it was recorded in an actual studio which lets Bejar's amazing voice out of its cage and into the hearts of people whose thing is nasally rage. Daughters is uneven, but there are a handful of monster jams on it that always cause me to overlook that. “No Cease Fires!” and “The Space Race” serve as a precursor to the full band stuff Bejar would work on with Thief and motherfucking perfect with Streethawk: A Seduction, which ended up pretty high on my best of the decade list.
Thief was another highly positive step for Bejar. The songs are hookier, tighter, and he's whipping his band into perfect form. Granted, they're not as tight as the band Bejar has been working with since This Night, but you know, whatever, this is ALMOST Streethawk. I read somewhere that this is an attack on the music industry, which makes loads of sense and it's pry as close as Bejar gets to a concept album despite how cohesive his records tend to be. That, and the words falling out of his mouth are better suited for books of free verse. Anyway, you can see it pretty clearly in tunes like “Destroyer's the Temple” and “Canadian Lover/Falcon's Escape.” It's a fantastic record and the last Destroyer record I got around to, which made me feel stupid once I finally did. I mean, it's worth it just for that bit at the end of the title track where the distortion kicks in and the album burns to a chaotic finish. Two classic LPs in one sweet little package hell yes!