Another curio from Dan Bejar

Destroyer - Bay of Pigs
Destroyer is one of the most instantly recognizable bands around today; there’s no mistaking singer Dan Bejar’s nasal voice, half-spoken delivery and oblique poetry. It’s so distinctive, in fact, that Destroyer songs have a tendency to all sound the same—a trend that, after eight albums plus a smattering of EPs and side-projects—shows no sign of abating. Bejar’s only apparent means to separate his works is by aping a variety of genres, disguising the similarity of his songs with a outlandish production styles. We’ll Build Them a Golden Bridge was no-fi folk; Streethawk: A Seduction copped the lush pianos and biting guitars of mid-’70s Bowie; Your Blues was MIDI-based bedroom electronica.

This perhaps explains the new EP, Bay of Pigs, which is a foray into the invented genre of “ambient disco.” It’s only two tracks long, but at over 21 minutes, its nearly as substantial as many full lengths albums (it’s a few seconds longer than Vivian Girls‘ ten-song debut, for example). The title track is bafflingly experimental, beginning with aimless synth swells and breaking into danceable electro beats and upbeat acoustic strumming at various points in its 14-minute runtime. “Listen, I’ve been drinking,” Bejar begins, technicolor keyboards swirling in the background. No shit.

Track two, “Ravers,” is comparatively tame, although it’s still a far cry from Bejar’s usual man-with-guitar approach. With eight minutes made up of new-age-y synth chords and directionless vocals, plus a very brief section of cavernous keyboard arpeggios, it’s pure ambiance—there’s no disco here.

Still, despite the bizarre arrangements, you can’t help but hear echoes of Destroyer’s previous work in Bay of Pigs. The sparse electronics harken back to much of Your Blues, while the vocal melodies of the title track bearing a passing similarity to “Rubies.” Bejar, it seems, can’t escape himself. That’s not such a problem, however, if he keeps on releasing projects as interesting as this. More than just a stylistic oddity, the EP is classic late night/headphone listening; newcomers might want to start elsewhere, but it’s essential for any Destroyer fan.

Bay of Pigs is out now via Merge.
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