Artistic integrity or brand recognition; it’s a dangerous balancing act that all musicians have to keep a close eye on. The trappings of big money can cage their work and leave them stuck performing as a corporate puppet, recording the same song over and over again. Swimming between the flags, bowling with the bumpers up. On the flipside, if their music is too eccentric they risk drifting into obscurity, playing Ukrainian thrash metal on a bowed banjo and draining an already empty room.
Destroyer seem to have found the sweet spot between two extremes. Dan Bejar has always coasted right by the shoreline of fame. He almost found himself beached alongside the spectacular 2011 album ‘Kaputt’; his croons couched an underlying panic that worked a little too well, turning him into a sub-headliner all over the US. But now with the limelight fading into the background, Bejar has returned with “Sky’s Grey”, a first taste at his new album ‘ken’.
As ‘Sky’s Grey’ starts, you’d be forgiven for thinking his voice-box needs ‘FRAGILE’ stamped on the side, each word wavering over hidden patters, disembodied breaths and lonely plucks. Destroyer doesn’t need to step far out of his comfort zone to show his soul. Even at this low-end register, he can tap into both the temporal sadness of missed opportunities and the re-tuning required to ante back up.
‘ken’ arrives October 20th. Stream “Sky’s Grey” below: