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Destroyer: Destroyer’s Rubies

Destroyer: Destroyer’s Rubies

Release Date:2006
Genre:Indie Rock

By Robbie Whelan | Posted 3/29/2006

As long as he keeps making records like Rubies,Vancouver-based songwriter Dan Bejar, aka Destroyer, will never shrug off the David Bowie comparisons. His voice is manic and his instrumental arrangements are full of mono-era acoustic guitars and piano pomp, all of it reminiscent of Hunky Dory-era glam. And Bejar’s lyrics are so full of British Columbia-area pop-culture references that you need a concordance to sort them out—Bowie’s Andy Warhols in Chelsea warehouse parties become Destroyer’s Neal Stephensons at East Vancouver cultural street fairs.

Despite the self-references and self-consciousness, Rubies’ 10 tracks do manage, through their innate poppiness and Bejar’s weirdness, a measure of charm. He is, after all, a contributor to records by power-pop collective the New Pornographers, and he learned plenty in that gig. “Your Blood” pairs clap-along cheerfulness with Destroyer’s obscure lyricism, while “Priest’s Knees” plays like a cheeky, forgotten Pavement single.

A highlight is “3000 Flowers,” a short autobiography of a life in hipsterdom: “I was a slow learner, I moved in flourishes/ I was a late-bloomer, I moved in flourishes/ Last man on the scene/ Fresh face on a dying scene/ 100th of a wet, black bough,” that last bit being a reference to the Ezra Pound poem “In a Station of the Metro,” typical of Bejar’s off-the-cuff literary allusions. And all this dense wordplay flows nicely over a “Rebel Rebel” guitar line and a rattling maraca-powered beat. Bejar may never crawl out from Ziggy’s shadow, but at least he fits right in the Wes Anderson soundtrack-friendly world of soul-baring throwback rock.

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