VIDEO: Destroyer - "Times Square"

VIDEO: Destroyer – “Times Square”

Dan Bejar is a musician who is constantly reinventing himself. The same Bejar who wrote the rambling folk number “I Want This Cyclops” also put out the jazzy soft rock opus “Suicide Demo For Kara Walker.” While the artist had sprinkled saxophone throughout earlier albums (“War On Jazz” almost 2 decades earlier, for example), 2011’s Kaputt saw Bejar really embracing the instrument. The sounds on Kaputt were those most associated with adult contemporary and smooth jazz rather than the indie folk and pop he’d become known for. Needless to say, the album was met with mixed reactions, but those who embraced the change were treated to one of the best releases of the year.

Fast forward to 2015 and Bejar is back, sax in tote, but where as Kaputt was the soundtrack for a sultry late night cruise, Poison Season is far more pensive and unpredictable. Take “Hell,” for instance, where the orchestration swells until halfway through we’re given a short reprieve. Suddenly, the song bursts forth and Bejar repeats the mantra “it’s hell down here.” There are far more moments like this on the new LP. Take “Bangkok,” where the arrangement meanders along with it’s unique, layered instrumentation building to a sort of anti-climax. I’ll be the first to admit that the album didn’t grab me the way previous Destroyer albums did, but I think that speaks to the album’s complexity. There are many faces to Poison Season. The varying approaches to songwriting work perfectly to create an album that’s a true journey and rewarding when taken as a whole.

In the video for “Times Square” stop-motion forest freaks and close-ups of Bejar riddle the landscape as he sings about the small mysteries and tangled stories of the big city. The track itself is the centerpiece of Poison Season with “Times Square, Poison Season” (parts I and II respectively) book-ending the album. The song is an enigma. Lyrically, rife with despair and paranoia, but musically a gorgeous, easy-going pop song. So, what’s a claymation brain sprouting a couple little guys, mystery magic and a forest come to life have to do with the city that never sleeps? I have no damn clue. Watch the video for “Times Square” below.

Poison Season is out now via Merge.