Destroyer
Archer on the Beach


4.0
excellent

Review

by Eric USER (161 Reviews)
November 1st, 2010 | 53 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Destroyer springs back from a brief hiatus with one of the year’s most compelling

The easiest, most art-schooly comparison to begin a review of Archer on the Beach with would be a romanticization of some glorious picture of a phoenix rising from its ashes. Unfortunately, this would be unfair. We have a much more understated, exquisite product at hand. Destroyer, comprised of Dan Bejar, a Canadian with superfluous musical connections in the biz, pledged to be done with music a little while ago. For a man that’s created indie-pop epics like the lovely Destroyer’s Rubies, a true treasure to anyone lucky enough to have known it, and contributed to the New Pornographers, this was a true loss... but here we are. The man is still creating touching, profound tunes, and in this case he has the help of ambient troubadours Tim Hecker and loscil by his side. Altogether, the two songs flow well into a concoction of melancholy, self-loathing, and loneliness through the subtle ambience, and still manages to become truly dazzling at some points through Bejar’s spoken-word. Prepare for an interesting adventure into a self-conscious work that won’t dazzle you with flames, but is all the better for it.

“Grief Point” was the first song recorded after Destroyer returned to the studio. It shows. Not in the sense that he’s rusty, as Bejar is still a master of honing music to fit his agenda- the length, the tone, the underlying consciousness of his work which is, in this case, despair, is all perfectly orchestrated and under control. Bejar, without a doubt, picked this skill up from obvious influences Guided By Voices and Pavement. Instead, Bejar’s refreshing “newness” makes itself latent through the poignant lyrics of “Grief Point,” the second song, and the main feature. I’m afraid I only skim the surface of the 9 minute-long piece, but Bejar ponders and ponders, claiming, “I have lost a trust in music, it is horrible. I should only make things I understand, I should only make things I know how to construct, however imperfect.” Or later, he goes as far to proclaim, “At some point, when it is made, I will explain this record, word for word, swear to god, I will know what is good and what is bad. The answer to the making of grief point is a picnic basket, filled with blood.” I want to be put off by the utter pretension of it all, but I can’t. The lyrics, spanning most of the song, are absolutely compelling. Hell, I literally couldn’t type this review while listening to it because I would finding myself stopping only to listen more closely. That’s not something that happens every day.

Interspersed throughout “Grief Point,” making sure the pretension doesn’t strangle the song, are tiny, subtle, sound effects. The flick of a Zippo transports me to a scene right out of a Wes Anderson movie, the click of a glass being set on the table breaks my concentration. Admittedly, the sound effects and lyrics become more prominent than loscil’s beautiful valley of a setting, which nestles a little too deeply into the background, but manages to do a wonderful job nonetheless. On “Archers on the Beach,” Hecker, ambient-extraordinaire, makes his presence known a little more powerfully, piano in tow. The first song is a tad less stimulating than “Grief Point,” but works as a wonderful complement to the its more engaging counterpart. Slower-paced and relaxing, “Archers on the Beach” is still a wonderful example of the capabilities of two musical-masterminds at work. Exquisite songwriting and a wonderful progression are prominent, as both loscil and Tim Hecker concoct dreamy, melancholic backdrops. His latest EP, with more twists and turns than a bag of pretzels, isn’t the best starting place for curious fans of the New Pornographers. Though, what Archers on the Beach lacks in quantity and accessibility, clocking in at roughly 15 minutes, it makes up for in distinguished quality that only gives me more inner-conflict-- Am I more excited for Destroyer’s next full-length in January, or am I more compelled by the prospect of Archers on the Beach truly setting in and latching on, as it has ample room to grow?



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user ratings (23)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
SeaAnemone
November 1st 2010


20834 Comments


surprised how absorbed by this one I am... honestly been a while since I've fallen this hard for a 2010 release...



... not to mention awesome artwork.

ConsiderPhlebas
November 1st 2010


6157 Comments


Sounds pretty amazing

Photon
November 1st 2010


1292 Comments


oh yeah awesome artwork , good review . I like Tim Hecker so will check this out

SeaAnemone
November 1st 2010


20834 Comments


it's disturbing that so many people (me included) fail to rep Destroyer's Rubies as much as it should be...

this is totally different but really cool.


I was actually pretty hesitant to write this considering it feels like a lot to absorb, I mean excuse me for sounding like a douchebag but this just sounds really deep, or something.

ConsiderPhlebas
November 1st 2010


6157 Comments


You and your faux-illiteracy, Sea

Enotron
November 1st 2010


7695 Comments


sounds fucking awesome, can't wait to check out

SeaAnemone
November 1st 2010


20834 Comments


You and your faux-illiteracy, Sea


lol, thanks?


and yeah Eno I actually think you'd enjoy this a looooot a lot. get on that.

Xenophanes
Emeritus
November 1st 2010


10620 Comments


Takes talent to write that heavily on 15min worth of material. Great job.

SeaAnemone
November 1st 2010


20834 Comments


thanks xeno!

I actually tried to hold back here a bunch of times, I afraid I skimmed over a few things, could've gone into the first song a tad more, and the guy's voice in the second, which is important. the fact that there's so much to write about such a short piece is very indicative of a great piece of work, I think-- many (more than most peoples') of my favorite albums of all-time are EPs.

MassiveAttack
November 1st 2010


2688 Comments


I see you got Imaginary Country as a similar album..this intrigues me lol

SeaAnemone
November 1st 2010


20834 Comments


eh, I don't know how similar it is : / you obviously know much more about ambient stuff than I do... honestly I just included that because Tim Hecker is in this, and I thought more people would see that and go "oh! Tim Hecker! I should listen to this!" than if I put loscil, the other collab artist here I have heard.

EVedder27
November 1st 2010


6088 Comments


cool stuff Eric, will probably get when I get my comp back

FelixCulpa
November 1st 2010


1240 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

No idea if I'm gonna like this but you make it sound interesting enough to give it a whirl.

AggravatedYeti
November 1st 2010


7685 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

damn it I need this
keep forgetting about it.

SeaAnemone
November 1st 2010


20834 Comments


thanks guys...

and chambered, this is very different. Rubies was much more indie-pop, this is ambient influenced, very mellow stuff. But if you liked Rubies I'm assuming you'd like this-- it's hard to explain but Bejar, I think, puts a very distinct spin on his work.

MassiveAttack
November 1st 2010


2688 Comments


You're right I do say "oh, Hecker is in this!" :D

SeaAnemone
November 1st 2010


20834 Comments


yesss everything is going according to devious plan!

MassiveAttack
November 1st 2010


2688 Comments


cunning.

thebhoy
Emeritus
November 1st 2010


4461 Comments


I need this, Eric what were your thoughts on Bay of Pigs EP from last year? Bay of Pigs is probably my favourite Destroyer song, though Rubies is his best album.

SeaAnemone
November 1st 2010


20834 Comments


Bay of Pigs was really interesting-- I mean, conceptually it was really cool, I'd say "European Olis" is my favorite but it's hard to compare the two.

If you like Bay of Pigs that much though I think you'll really like this! It's somewhat similar just feels more... realized... if that makes sense.



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