Wednesday, May 19; the Rocket Bar

The fact that Dan Bejar of Destroyer can write an amazing pop song is no surprise to anyone who's come across Streethawk: A Seduction or his work with the New Pornographers. The fact that Bejar can be a confounding, confusing artist is also evident to anyone who attempts to keep up with his output. 2002's This Night was a sprawling, serpentine record that rewarded the patience required to extract the goodness within. Bejar's lyrics have always been a wonderful mystery, and his ability to turn nonsensical musings into anthems speaks to his powers of persuasion, the rise-and-fall of the music leading to near-hypnosis.

On Destroyer's latest, Your Blues, Bejar seems to be following in the footsteps of that other great Canadian songwriter, Leonard Cohen. Like Mr. "Hallelujah" himself (or his post-1984 output, at least), Bejar washes all of his songs in gloriously cheesy keyboards: not "new wave" cheesy (that's always en vogue), but the kind of keyboard that attempts to reproduce every orchestral sound, from choir to trumpet to marimba. What, would Merge Records not spring for a real band, giving Bejar the mother of all CasioTones instead? The music may sound like excerpts from The Princess Bride soundtrack, but the songs are still vintage Destroyer, and Bejar's breathy, elastic vocals quickly draw focus away from all other aspects of the music. Not to be missed for fans of twisted pop genius.

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