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Destroyer | Streethawk: A Seduction (Misra)
Are you ready for Destroyer? The latest in a new wave of speed metal bands festooned with bad haircuts and rottweiler tattoos, screaming about Satan, death and destruction to the sound of frenetic fretwork. No? Well, fear not, Destroyer, despite their name, are an entirely different proposition. A tight, no-nonsense indie band with something special bubbling under the apparently simple surface of their songs. The title track introduces Daniel Bejar's voice, a sort of cross between the lead singer of Granfaloon Bus and Will Oldham, an acquired taste certainly, but one like steak tartar that soon proves irresistible, especially when he's singing "Go or don't go" on the chorus with the kind of passion and need that's so lacking in the irony rich field of today's music. A basic guitar, bass and drum trio aided and abetted by some wondrous piano and keyboard solos, there's something so fresh and unaffected about Destroyer's music, something that keeps you hitting the Play button. Even the seven minute Bad Arts manages to sound taut and tight as a Marine's bed. Most obvious reference point is perhaps early Pavement, Bejar sounding a bit like Malkmus' younger brother and having a similar penchant for weird song subjects, cerebral and non-personal lyrics. The Sublimation Hour is a great tribute to the uselessness of rock with a well embedded London Calling quote while Virgin With A Memory is a sprightly acoustic number with the nagging refrain of "Was it the movie or the making of Fitzcarraldo?" The second half of this album is even more impressive, the slow agonised Farrar, Strauss and Giroux (not, unfortunately, a tribute to one half of Uncle Tupelo) spins around the refrain of "no man has ever hung himself from the rafters of a second home" - a fact that Michael Meacher should perhaps be made aware of. Ignore the name and you'll find a small and perfectly formed debut. A flash spark of friction, a splinter in the polished homogeneity of the current music scene.
CWAS #8 - Summer 2001