Destroyer's Dan Bejar says a lot on Rubies' meandering, nine-minute-long title track, but its spot as the album's lead-off song says even more. Bejar is an excellent (and sometimes purposefully difficult) songwriter who often sounds unsure of where he's headed but confident that his listeners will go along for the ride. This casual self-assuredness works in his favor throughout much of Rubies, his fifth studio album, but it is also a liability when he fails to trim some of the fat. The album is haunted by the reverb-drenched sounds of '70s Nashville, early David Bowie and Desire-era Dylan, with Bejar's backing band providing the rich instrumentation that previous Destroyer albums lack. Standouts like "Painter in Your Pocket" and the Fall-influenced "3000 Flowers" are among the shortest songs on the record and demonstrate that Bejar is at his most compelling when his songs are trim and well-structured. The album drags a bit on songs like "Looters Follies," however, where songs build up without going anywhere and ideas overstay their welcome. Although Rubies is certainly the finest Destroyer album to date and one that will likely propel the part-time New Pornographers collaborator to the next level of indie stardom, some restraint would have transformed this very good album into a classic one.
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