Don't Look Back

Destroyer's Dan Bejar hit the road for This Night and found a great album at the end

Most of Bejar's songs travel on the same path; for instance, "Crystal Country" might be a love song, but it probably isn't. And Bejar doesn't tip his hand: "It's just Crystal Country showing us that everything must break to be beautiful/And, honey, that's what I meant when I called and said, 'This is fucked.'" More often than not, Bejar offers his hand, then makes it into a fist: "Given the right occasion, I'd put myself up for sale to post the necessary bail that would free you from this kingdom," he sings on "Self Portrait With Thing (Tonight is Not Your Night)." "But tonight is not your night."

"Trembling Peacock" and "Crystal Country" and the others aren't necessarily about Bejar, but they're close enough, self-portraits based on old photographs, maybe. Most are the kinds of songs he could have only written outside of Vancouver, glancing back as he strained to look ahead. Which was kind of the point of leaving in the first place.

"It's really the first time I'd written a body of work--I guess you'd call it--outside of Vancouver," Bejar says. "I think, in some way, the place where I am informs what I'm writing, in a lot of ways. I don't know if it comes out. I feel like the three records that came before this were really attached to my life here, so I assume that might have something to do with why the new one sounds a fair bit different. Ideally, I'd like to tie in the geography of where I'm waking up into what it is that I do, I guess."

With This Night, Destroyer's Dan Bejar, second from left, comes back with a "new gang of thugs" and a new sound.
With This Night, Destroyer's Dan Bejar, second from left, comes back with a "new gang of thugs" and a new sound.

He may be back in Vancouver for a while, but don't expect Bejar to keep waking up in the same place on the map forever, or even for now. Getting away from there only fueled his desire to do it again. And again.

"I'm really making it out to be this poisonous place," Bejar says, laughing. "I think it's pretty natural. But I think being away for a year maybe didn't really cut it. I didn't have a chance to make roots anywhere else...You know, there's other parts of the world I'd like to see, and might be more conducive to, um, uh, you know, general well-being." He laughs again. "Everyone I love is here, and there's parts of the city that I like, but I think it would probably be good for me to get out."

If This Night is any indication, he never has a reason to go back.

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