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First Destroyer full-length since the very popular Kaputt way back in 2011. Poison Season mixes the song styles Destroyer is known for, from close confessional quiet numbers to bombasted, almost-70s-Springsteen-esque big tunes. All with a sophisticated and witty lyrical sensibility. Released on the Dead Oceans label.

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Poison Season by Destroyer 2 reviews. Add your own review. 8/10
10 people love this record. Be the 11th!

6/10 Staff review, 27 August 2015

Destroyer’s Dan Bejar and Frog Eyes’ Carey Mercer used to be in yelping Canadian indie rock band Swan Lake, and now they’ve released new albums on the very same day -- apparently nobody told their pal Spencer Krug, who’s probably out in Finland singing to wolves. We’ll get to Mercer’s new folk opera in another review -- his earnest songs are something entirely different from a sarcastic Destroyer record -- but now it’s time to do what the blogosphere does best: humour Dan Bejar.

A few years ago Bejar’s Destroyer unleashed ‘Kaputt’ and shocked everyone with a stupefying roundabout turn. Rather than inject a bit of sincerity into his project by losing the Bowie schtick, he prepared a record of differently sarcastic music: slick, sax-adorned ‘80s yacht rock worthy of (and obsessed with) Prefab Sprout. As far as records that I love to hate and hate to love go, ‘Kaputt’ sits on the throne. It proved Bejar as a great linguist as much as a lyricist -- a dude who knows how to place, repeat and rearticulate words rather than simply write them. With its obsessive stories about music and its press, ‘Kaputt’ is the high point of musical snark, one of my favourite records ever, and I despise it. In a few years, I imagine I’ll say the same about ‘Poison Season’.

This record once again reimagines the Destroyer project, which is now in its third wave of uncool: here is a serene, almost pantomimic record shining with blase string arrangements and jaunty melodies. Each climax only serves to further cheese up a record of preternatural cheesiness: the urgent rushes of violin on “Hell” are eventually broken down with a cabaret of piano and sax. “The River” is so much about its dad Americana that it sounds like it’s on autopilot, like an ambient Steely Dan; “Archer On The Beach” is much the same, imagining Bejar as a smoky balladeer who barely cares to mumble his way through the clouds of sax.

One of the best things about ‘Kaputt’ was how Bejar played with language until it took on a myriad new meanings, but here, the language isn’t as thrilling -- nor as amusing. The separation of “Times Square” into three separate songs doesn’t have the immediacy of the fleeting, randomly stammered words of “Bay of Pigs”, while many of these songs lose their lyrical stitching due to Bejar’s hazy songwriting and long pauses. There’s one moment of simple brilliance, and it’s “Dream Lover”, a bleating rocker a la ‘Let’s Dance’ that repositions the same lyric until it feels like the most important phrase in the world: “Lovers on the run!”. I can’t explain why any given Bejar lyric sounds so good, but when it does, it takes on its own characters and backstories. It’s a shame that the rest of this elaborate record can’t find an inch of that personality.

10/10 Customer review, 23rd September 2015

I was dreading this release, the sequel to Kaputt. Surely it would only disappoint?

Track by track, each listen pulls [and pushes?] you in. Deeper.

"You've been standing on deep waters, You were standing on deep waters"

Once in, immersed in textures, tones and timings

Songs sink, float, dive, stop, start and pull you under

A band, the voice is an instrument, totally immersed together

Abstract words become part of the music, the textures, tones and perfect timings

You have no choice; a siren calls

"Careful now, watch your step, in you go"

This is NOT an essential LP

Is an essential experience

"Careful now, watch your step, in you go"



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