Destroyer

Destroyer frontman Dan Bejar decided that the lineup that recorded his band's 2006 album Destroyer's Rubies should remain intact indefinitely, so the follow-up to that record, Trouble in Dreams, now finds the Vancouver indie-pop band testing its own limits. "Blue Flower/Blue Flame" trumps Ladybug Transistor at its own game and "Dark Leaves Form a Thread" turns the frantic psychedelic rock of "3000 Flowers" into a brilliant pop song. But, otherwise, Trouble is driven by acoustic guitar and only textured with piano—something of a departure from Bejar's keyboard-heavy past records.

Those stowing the ubiquitous comparison between Bejar and David Bowie won't make it past "The State," but the Bowie-isms here are more The Man Who Sold the World than Hunky Dory. "My Favourite Year" wields a melancholy sort of triumph ("It was a very good year, and now it's gone"), while "Shooting Rockets" brings the entire immaculately paced album into scope. Listeners are never made to feel rushed, prodded, dragged along or left behind; Destroyer guides them along expertly.

Besides being stunningly beautiful on its own, "Introducing Angels" uses Blood on the Tracks-style vocals better than anyone save Dylan himself, so while Trouble in Dreams is remarkable, Destroyer's next offering may be flat-out unassailable.

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Chris Henderson