|Add Date:||2017-11-19|| ||Pull Date:||2018-01-21|| |
|Week Ending:||10 Dec||3 Dec||26 Nov|
Dan Bejar, the wizard behind Destroyer, is probably the funniest and most vivid lyricist since Morrissey. So it’s somewhat ironic that Destroyer’s newest album, ken, revisits the sound of Britain in the 1980s—dabbling in post-punk, new wave, and even synthpop—while avoiding The Smiths. Instead, it’s got splashes of New Order and The Cure. I like to think of ken as the sulking, brooding younger brother of the band’s 2011 masterpiece, Kaputt; it’s dark and mechanical in places where its older sibling was produced and polished. Bejar himself is as theatrical and poetic as ever, but sometimes it feels as though he’s a little out of place on ken’s brasher cuts. This is hardly a bad album—definitely worthy of some love in the A-file—but it suffers mightily when compared to its predecessors. It makes me think of a cutting lyric on one of Destroyer’s best albums: “You looked OK with the others / You looked great on your own.”|
FCCs: 1, 6
Favorites: 2, 3, 4
1) “Sky’s Grey” (4:06) – FCC “f***,” “p***.” The song begins as a piano-driven number with a skipping beat. Becomes a fuller, warmer affair in the second half thanks to drums and a steely guitar solo. A highlight, but only playable during safe harbor.
2) “In the Morning” (3:17)* – A loud, grumbling song with a persistent, thwacking percussion and a bulldozing synth riff.
3) “Tinseltown Swimming in Blood” (4:46)* – Between the rubbery beat and the watery bassline, I could easily have mistaken this for a New Order song. It’s probably the most reminiscent of Kaputt, especially with that smooth saxophone that weaves in and out of the song.
4) “Cover from the Sun” (2:14)* – A charging, guitar-driven song. It’s not nearly unhinged enough to be punk, but...think of it as Destroyer doing punk.
5) “Saw You at the Hospital” (3:30) – A quieter song with acoustic guitar and piano. As far as Destroyer songs go, it’s pretty lyrically straightforward. It’s a bit of a breather after a run of loud tracks.
6) “A Light Travels Down the Catwalk” (3:08) – FCC “s***.” A very low and brooding synths anchors this song. There’s some odd synth drones phasing in and out of the track, and it can be a little disorienting.
7) “Rome” (5:01) – If “Tinseltown” had Destroyer trying his hand at New Order, then “Rome” sees him ripping off The Cure. The guitar riffs aren’t particularly loud, but they sound stormy and monolithic, aided by the production of the drums.
8) “Sometimes in the World” (2:34) – The song rides along a primitive synth line, punctuated by some truly unpleasant bursts of noise and feedback. I wouldn’t play this unless you wanted to blow out your listeners’ speakers.
9) “Ivory Coast” (4:49) – An industrial, robotic synth motif repeats throughout the song. It’s probably my least favorite song on the album; it’s about the same length as “Tinseltown” yet it feels twice as long. Why play this when you can play that?
10) “Stay Lost” (2:22) – A short and unsettling number with gothic synths and crunchy, overdriven guitar riffs. Bejar calls this song “a user’s guide to being in the world.” Huh.
11) “La Regle du Jeu” (4:01) – The song’s first minute is driven by a skipping synth. After that, it folds in percussion and some slinky guitars. A buzzing guitar solo closes out the last minute and a half of the song.