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Notorious Lightning and Other Works (Merge)

Who says there are no second chances in showbiz? After Destroyer released Your Blues last summer, it seemed that the record's keyboard jungle had completely swallowed singer/songwriter Dan Bejar, one of rock's most singular talents. While that album's sterility rendered it nearly unlistenable, this EP rescues some of Bejar's best songs from their MIDI-fied incarnations on Your Blues. To accomplish this, Bejar enlisted the help of Frog Eyes, his opening act and backing band on last summer's tour. While technically not a live album, Notorious Lightning and Other Works re-creates the freak-outs and dirges from their live sets.

The key to Bejar's occasional brilliance lies in his ability to meld operatic crescendos with unrepentant noise, and both the grandiose and cacophonous are present here. "Notorious Lightning" finds Bejar engaging in his own style of throat-singing, though he doesn't overdo the vocal gymnastics. The best flourishes are still grounded by the beat, and Frog Eyes succeeds at maintaining Bejar's epic visions while keeping him from raging excessively.

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