Destroyer: ken (Merge) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Destroyer: ken (Merge)

Oct 20, 2017 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Destroyer has always been an incongruous name, the music hardly conjuring up a blast of hard rock. That was Dan Bejar’s point, but there’s something constantly overwhelming about his music. Especially as he continues to experiment and add new tricks, Bejar has a knack of filling every pocket of air, which he does again on his 12th studio album, ken.

There’s a strong ‘80s vibe across the usual selection of soaring synths, proggish guitar work, and obscure lyrics. This isn’t so much a Destroyer reinvention, something Bejar has done countless times before, as it is a gradual shift into the highlights of a decade he’s always had a thing for. He builds in layers, he ends with a flourish, and he’s certainly still singing in a voice that sounds like David Bowie narrating an audiobook.

None of this is a complaint. Destroyer sound like nothing else, apart from the other Canadian bands Bejar gets involved in, although it’s always disconcerting to hear those odd bursts where one of his ambling tracks turns into a ball of New Pornographers energy.

Ken, named after the original title for Suede’s song “The Wild Ones,” feels like Kaputt extended into synth-pop. And those lyrics are oblique as ever. He sings of “Oliver Twist” and “a blond Che Guevara” in amongst startling imagery. Just what it means will vary from person to person, though perhaps Bejar says it best when he sings, “Strike an empty pose/A pose is always empty” on “A Light Travels Down the Catwalk.”

In the closing duo of “Stay Lost” and “La Regle du Jeu” he also conjures up two of his very best tracks, sending ken dancing into the night. This isn’t much of a change of direction for Bejar; it’s just Destroyer. What more can a person want? (

Author rating: 7.5/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10


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