Review Summary: A poet for no one, in slow motion.
It’s been a very long time since I sat down and spun a Destroyer album front to back, I’ll admit it. Usually, I’m content with a few tracks from one of their earlier records showing up on a playlist here or there; a song off Streethawk, maybe a handful off Rubies or This Night. It’s not a deliberate choice on my part, it just sort of happens that way. That noxious line of thinking seemed to carry over to my initial listen of Have We Met. By the halfway point of the album, I found myself instinctively reaching for the ‘skip track’ button like I would on a playlist set to shuffle.
That’s not to say the A-side of Have We Met is skippable. “Crimson Tide” and “Kinda Dark” weren’t all that special, but the three tracks that follow are enjoyable. “It Just Doesn’t Happen” is a good alternative dance track with a decent synth line, and my favorite track on the album is found within this string of tracks, “The Raven.” The calming sounds of keyboards and drums mixed in with sudden bursts of guitar makes for an interesting listen. The second half of the album is noticeably worse than the first, but only because it begins with “Cue Synthesizer,” Have We Met’s weakest track. Aside from that, it’s a middling affair. “University Hill” is a ploddingly-slow synthpop track and “The Man in Black's Blues” is pleasant, but doesn’t really switch anything up, seemingly content with going at the same tempo the whole way through. The album closes with “foolssong,” which fittingly ends the album with a 2-minute long droning fade to black.
There’s this belief that I’ve held for a very long time, that being boring is a lot worse than being outright terrible. It’s not a steadfast rule by any means, but it does mirror my feelings about Have We Met. With the exception of the grating “Cue Synthesizer,” Destroyer have put out a collection of songs with practically zero bite. The run from “It Just Doesn't Happen” to “The Raven” is a highlight for sure, but even those tracks aren’t enough to make the entire thing worth listening. Yet again, it seems Destroyer have made another album destined for cherry-picking and "best-of" playlists, one where 2/3s of the album is disposable and lackluster. Uninteresting to the point you don’t even remember the name; that’s the impression Have We Met leaves you with by the time it’s over. When it disappears into the crowd, it's like it was never there.