Only an immensely talented lyricist such as Destroyer’s Dan Bejar could craft a chorus that repeats “I’ve been workin’ on the new Oliver Twist” and have listeners firmly believe it’s a line of great heft and richness. It’s a reputation Bejar’s earned over 10 studio albums of work that’s woven together dread-filled romanticism, love of rock and roll, nostalgia and an understated reverence for the natural order of things.
Lyrics about musicals about English lads don’t mean shit though if there’s nothing of substance to back them up. Since his debut all the way back in 1996, Bejar’s been constantly tinkering with his sound to find his ideal accompaniment. At this point that style sits at the nexus of loungey jazz, baroque pop, piano balladry and indie rock where a song such as “Sky’s Grey” can be found. The first single from his forthcoming album, ken, “Sky’s Grey” finds Bejar in reflective balladeer mode at the outset as he recalls “bombs in the city” over segmented piano chords, twitching electronics and glacially moving synth. Like much of his best work, it’s unclear if Bejar’s remembering this time with fondness or utter contempt. But before that debate can be settled the song moves into a mid-tempo guitar strummer that you could almost see Mazzy Star crafting. So it is with Bejar. He’ll show you around and let you occupy his mind but only on his terms and on his time. It’s over just as you’re starting to get the good parts.
ken drops on Merge on October 20. It’s available for pre-order here and you can check out the tracklist below.
01. “Sky’s Grey”
02. “In The Morning”
03. “Tinseltown Swimming In Blood”
04. “Cover From The Sun”
05. “Saw You At The Hospital”
06. “A Light Travels Down The Catwalk”
08. “Sometimes In The World”
09. “Ivory Coast”
10. “Stay Lost”
11. “La Regle du Jeu”