[sic] Magazine

Destroyer – Poison Season

Dan Bejar has long had something of the Marmite about him. Love him or loathe him, the divisive singer-songwriter has always been difficult to simply dislike however. As Destroyer, and he’s had many a story-telling persona, he currently writes a type of playful, super-smooth soft rock and Poison Season is his open love letter to Times Square, book-ended and run through with a threesome of track titles that go so far as to bear its name: a thematically conjoined suite that roams from the downright neo-classical to dreamy, easy listening solos festooned with Bejar’s ever-cryptic lyrics.

Bejar is an outsider though and as such his is a side street that runs up to the promising lights of the famous square without ever quite reaching them. Eschewing the grid system, Bejar’s unique and leisurely map zigs and zags unpredictably throughout, his tasteful string and piano arrangements often interrupted with triumphant E-Street sax, simmering hand-drums and stately, sunny-day swoon.

While the influences on Poison Season’s predecessor, Kaputt, were many and easy to identify (Steely Dan, Roxy Music, New Order, 10cc, etc.), here, despite in places coming across like a Divine Comedy concept album, Bejar, his vocal silken and whispery, keeps his cards closer to his chest. The skilful intertwining of Waltz-like strings and brass on “Hell”, for example, sees him glide around cinematic composition with a soulful croon that suddenly coalesces with the addition of guitar and percussion into lush layers of pop rock. The standout “Dream Lover”, on the other hand, is a riotous cacoponhy of sax far from the Bobby Darin classic of the same name. “Archer On The Beach”, a reprise from the eponymous 2010 EP, decorates its melancholy with wonderful orchestral flourishes. At the other end of the spectrum, “Midnight Meet The Rain” has a fabulously dirty, sax-funk strut to its self-professed symphony.

Poison Season is a deeply rich tapestry from which each listener is likely to take away different interpretations and moments to treasure. Each time it’s spun something new and surprising seems to bubble to the surface to entertain and delight. Aptly, during the dream-like intro to “Girl In A Sling”, there’s a strong Willy Wonka vibe (seriously, take a listen below) – a role in which Bejar revels. Extravagant, eccentric and just a little creepy, spending time with Poison Season, darker all of a sudden now this comparison is made, is indeed like being a kid in a chocolate factory.

Best tracks: “Dream Lover” and “Midnight Meet The Rain”

~Poison Season is released August 28th 2015 via Dead Oceans.~

[sic] review: Destroyer – Kaputt