Destroyer: LABYRINTHITIS (Merge) - review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Tuesday, November 28th, 2023  




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Ah, Destroyer. Back for another round in the trenches and not a moment too soon. Dan Bejar, who has also spent time in Canuck collective The New Pornographers, launched Destroyer as a kind of loosely associated musical vehicle for his songs, both in studio and live. He, along with a band of regular collaborators, has blazed a trail as Destroyer since 1995, one that has been followed by a substantial global indie rock audience and with a near worshipful glow about them. Bejar’s heady songs are usually well worth the time and energy invested to explore and absorb them and such is the case with Bejar’s newest creation, Destroyer’s 13th album, LABYRINTHITIS.

It’s not everyone who will open an album with a seven-minute long song that doesn’t blow your doors off sonically, but the first track here, “It’s in Your Heart Now,” sets a rather somber tone and mood right away, and the hesitancy in the vocals is reminiscent of Future Islands for a few bars. The hypnotic effect grabs a hold and you’re carried away before you know it on an aural cloud.

The next song, “Suffer,” shifts into second gear and takes a turn, sounding a little like reconfigured OMD. “Tintoretto, It’s For You” (named after a 16th century Italian painter) is a sleek and slinky keyboard and percussion exhortation with some of Bejar’s most expressive vocals. Sometimes his contrarian face shows itself and he plays a trick card like he does on, “Eat the Wine, Drink the Bread,” a shifty track that almost sounds like something the Minneapolis New Wave band The Suburbs might have included on a recent record.

Not everything gels perfectly, but considering how much ground he covers both musically and lyrically, Bejar almost never falls completely off the horse. With no rules or self-imposed boundaries, per se, music with an experimental bent can often end up like one big unfocused mess. That doesn’t happen on a Destroyer album. With the world having lost its collective mind in the pandemic, with entropic chaos overtaking everything, we needed another Destroyer record to bring some semblance of continued functionality to bear. As long as Dan Bejar is recording and releasing music, the world is still turning, and vice versa. (

Author rating: 8/10

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Average reader rating: 6/10


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