As anyone who has had the misfortune of taking a postmodern theory course knows, nothing can escape its history. And usually, this historical entrapment is the biggest downfall of most modern music: singers, as we know, have a knack for getting ensnared in the coil of their influences. So with that in mind, you might be tempted to ask who is this Destroyer, with his Tyrannosaurus Rex and Ziggy Stardust feel?
Well, listen up kids: despite the fact that this album was loved by every indie magazine in the known world, I’m here to tell you that yes, Destroyer is the real fucking deal. This doesn’t sound like the work of some scrawny indie rock asshole wearing a Marc Bolan shirt whose girlfriend sprinkled glitter in his hair … it sounds like the record which influenced that kid to run out and become “glam” in the first place.
Destroyer’s Rubies, the sixth album by this Dan Bejar side project – yes, if you’re holding “The New Pornographers” on your Modern Pea Pod indie scorecard, you have just won a prize – instantly plunges the listener into a sonic time-warp with opening track “Rubies.” Despite its dubious length (clocking in at nine minutes and twenty-five seconds), “Rubies” never wanders towards the tedious, but instead floats in waves of Bejar’s cyclical, poetic lyrics, intermixed with atmospheric glam rock harmonizing and jarring percussion to keep the listener from floating up, up, and away with sonic bliss.
And “Rubies” isn’t even the high point of this album (though it’s certainly memorable): “Looter’s Follies” is rife with the rock and roll theatricality that long ago made Bowie the king of Mars, and the much-quoted “A Dangerous Woman Up to a Point” sounds as if it were a song that Lou Reed would have been thrilled to sing – well, he would’ve been thrilled to sing it back when he was still cool, that is.
This record is highly recommended for those who still believe in the idea that a man wearing a silk scarf and an eyepatch can make great music. It’s recommended for those who truly love the golden days of glam rock; Destroyer’s Rubies is rife with all the glory of those past albums. And while Bejar is no replacement for Kings Bolan or Bowie, he is a follower who demands respect in the great kingdom of glam. With history like this, who needs currency?
Reviewed by Megan Giddings