The Only Two Destroyer Tracks of 2010

11/10/2010 4:10 AM |

Archer on the Beach 12″

(Merge Records)

Though he put in expected tours of duty with Swan Lake and The New Pornographers last year, Dan Bejar’s 2009 best was the lone two-song, twelve-inch record he released as Destroyer. Its titular A-side, “Bay of Pigs,” was an exceedingly intriguing change-up for the singer-songwriter—thirteen minutes of low-key, avant-disco. Destroyer’s 2010 output is also confined to two sides of extended experimentation, delicate tracks entirely composed by collaborators. Tim Hecker’s electric/ambient sketch for “Archer on the Beach” fiddles with mournful piano, storm clouds, and muted crowd roar, as if the preamble from The Smiths’ “Last Night I Dreamt Somebody Loved Me” could sustain a full seven minutes without ever actually starting. Arch-poetic as usual, Bejar spies “ash-kings made of ashes… ice-queens made of snow,” before shifting that image subtly with every iteration.

“Grief Point” pairs spoken monologue with drummer Scott Morgan’s muted, slowly building Angelo Badalamenti-esque synth tremble, and recognizable, banal noises like phones ringing, zippers zipped, sips of tea. It ends up sounding less like a song than a high-art podcast, or the DVD commentary track for Bejar’s artistic crisis. “I have lost interest in music. It is horrible.” It’s compelling for the illusion of closeness it brings to such an inscrutable guy. “I think the world does not like me grim, it likes me melancholic but not miserable,” he says, like he’s finally being personal, even direct in articulating his perpetually sharp self-awareness. “The answer to the making of ‘Grief Point’ is picnic baskets, filled with blood,” he soon continues, nudging the car forward yet again, just as you were about to get in.