As Dan Bejar frequently flits between genres and eras in his music, it’s easy to become immersed in Destroyer’s theatrical world of cutting cultural critiques and cautious sentimentality, often enveloped by instrumentation uniquely emblematic to each album. On Ken, the listener will be entranced by opulent waves of electronica and subtle britpop nostalgia.
The Canadian outlier’s twelfth album is a gorgeously vibrant patchwork of songs woven together with tonal elements evocative of early Suede, New Order’s penchant for shimmering guitar reverb and The Radio Dept’s, potent synth intros on La Regle du Jeu. That said, Bejar divorces himself from his contemporaries – maintaining Destroyer’s individuality in how these components are utilised in the arrangements and production.
One such distinguishing element of this record is Bejar’s idiosyncratic vocals; sophisticated, conversational and trickling witty lyrics mocking the vacuous side of the arts (“Give up acting? Fuck No! / I’m just starting to get the good parts”) to earnestly exposing his follies (“My life’s completely blown / I spent it on a feeling’). The astuteness of Bejar’s lyrics, combined with his delivery, make for the kind of lines that you exchange giddily with friends and fellow fans.
As a companion piece to its excellent predecessors Poison Season and Kaputt – Ken is an exceptional expansion. As a triptych, these records cease an inherent yearning for a sound you didn’t realise you were searching for.
Words – Zara Hedderman
Like This? Try:
Suede – Dog Man Star
The Radio Dept. – Running Out of Love
Swan Lake – Enemy Mine