2008 release that cements Vancouver, BC's Dan Bejar as an artist as quirky and enigmatic as David Bowie, as symphonic and grandiose as Scott Walker, and as quixotically literary as Bob Dylan. A collection of songs that is fresh and confounding, yet befitting the Destroyer canon. "Of all contemporary songwriters, he's been the biggest influence and inspiration. Because he is pretentious, but in a way that makes it into a game where we all get to pretend to be so grand" - Okkervil River's Will Sheff.
All hail Destroyer's ninth-or-so full-length, Trouble in Dreams
. Many, many gosh-darn dudes go in for the "vaguely weird indie-rock music with oblique lyrics" schtick, and yet it's still an utter joy to hear Dan Bejar do it. He does it so well: if you close your eyes (or if your record collection doesn't go back before 1995), you might believe he invented this stuff. Overloaded, gorgeous, EBowed guitar work drips all over these songs. A few tunes suffer a tad from overly proggy, lurching rhythms, particular "Plaza Trinidad," on which Bejar's singing sounds like a parody of himself. It's totally Bowie-does-Shakespeare-in-the-park, but the over-the-top delivery saves it. "Shooting Rockets (From the Desk of Night's Ape)" is another head-scratcher, an overblown yacht-rock nightmare that begs to be part of a Paul Williams rock opera. But it's weirdly beautiful, and lacking in irony, so go ahead and put it on the mix tape for that barista you're crushing out on. All the lewd language, baroque pronunciation, and laconic pace keep songs like "Libby's First Sunrise" or "Leopard of Honor" from the radio waves and Target commercials they should rightfully rule, but that doesn't keep them from being among the best, smartest, already classic rock music of 2008. --Mike McGonigal