Swan Lake

Beast Moans (Jagjaguwar)

Composed of one part Wolf Parade, one part Destroyer and one part Frog Eyes, this hotly anticipated indie "super group" isn't so much super as surreal. Not in a "wow, I can't believe we should be so lucky" surreal way, but more in a sonic, "this is really kinda weird, don't give me drugs" sort of way. Dan Bejar (Destroyer, New Pornographers) has owed a lot to Bowie in his recent work, and a few overt reference points still seep in, but his former roommate Spencer Krug gives this album a bit of a sucker-punch. The energy that shines through on "All Fires" and "Are You Swimming in Her Pools?" is trumped by bits of stagnant organ songs that go nowhere.What emerges is a confusing, difficult barrage of sounds, vocal effects and song arrangements that dribble on at times (e.g. "The Pollenated Girls"). Because of each Swan Laker's critically acclaimed past, the three amigos might be their worst enemy. They like experimenting, and this might be seen as a "noise for noise's sake" effort. That said, "A Venue Called Rubella" is one of Destroyer's finer moments—it's quirky and passionate, and sounds like he really has something important to tell us. The rest is a bit murky.

 
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