Destroyer: No longer Vancouver’s best-kept secret

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Image: Fabiola Carranza

After two decades and eight albums under the name Destroyer, Vancouver musician Dan Bejar received unexpected widespread commercial success and critical acclaim with his ninth effort, 2011’s Kaputt. The Billboard charter simultaneously leaned into New Order, Miles Davis and David Sylvian while maintaining the musician’s signature cryptic lyrical style, and led to a rising profile that included both festival and late-night TV appearances.

No longer the Lower Mainland’s best-kept secret, Bejar, who is also well-regarded for his contributions to indie mainstays The New Pornographers, released his 10th full-length, Poison Season, in August. Like each Destroyer album before it, Poison Season is not like the last — the eclectic collection of songs are held together by orchestral and cinematic soundscapes arranged by Bejar’s backing band and veer between the brassy street rock of 1970s Springsteen and Bowie and British sophisti-pop like Orange Juice and Aztec Camera.

The sound is diverse and brilliantly crafted, corresponding impeccably with a lyrical dexterity that explores everything from sympathy (“Girl In A Sling”) and theology (“Forces From Above”) to self-loathing (“Hell”) and gentrification (“The River”). As often heard in Bejar’s extensive body of work, optimism is taken with a healthy dose of cynicism while challenging both the artist and his listener.

Destroyer is currently in the midst of a tour in support of Poison Season. Bejar and his band are set to play the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver, the first hometown show since the album’s release, on October 17.

 

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Yasmine Shemesh is a freelance writer who was born in Vancouver and raised on The Rolling Stones.
@yasmineshemesh

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