Destroyer – Have We Met

Dan Bejar's new album is a loose, spontaneous collection of tracks that's light but lacking a little of his trademark depth

Album Review by Lewis Wade | 27 Jan 2020
  • Destroyer - Have We Met
Album title: Have We Met
Artist: Destroyer
Label: Dead Oceans
Release date: 31 Jan

Dan Bejar's latest album as Destroyer, Have We Met, cuts back on the conceptual cohesion and band-oriented arrangements of recent releases, and aims instead for a loose, spontaneous directness. The results give the record a lighter feel, unbound by any strict aesthetic, but also lacking in the sort of depth that we've come to expect.

The original concept for the album was 'Y2K' and, though it was scrapped, there is a sense of paranoia and dread in Bejar's second-guessing lyrics. 'Look at the world around you / Actually don't look', he advises on The Raven before a pretty kooky synth arrangement busts in, almost an impromptu bridge that arrives after the first line. Sometimes this sort of unconstrained 'whatever goes' attitude works, but there's also a lot more repetition on the album (especially The Television Music Supervisor and The Man In Black's Blues), as well as songs that feel a little undercooked (University Hill).

Bejar is in full lounge-lizard mode here (as shown on the cover), crooning from the psychiatrist's couch in full Rees-Moggian repose. His signature vocals sound as good as ever, but his lyrics walk a fine line between intriguingly inscrutable ('I find the silence unbearable / What does that say about the silence?') and just plain nonsense ('Clickety-clack / The music makes a musical sound'). Cue Synthesizer is a nice experiment, the lyrics providing a meta-commentary on composition in real-time (and highlights the fact that the album is full of synth), but it still feels disconnected from the whole.

The two singles – Crimson Tide and It Just Doesn't Happen – are fantastic, vintage Destroyer, but much of the rest of the album feels like it was cobbled together from odds and ends, Bejar relying on his ability to freestyle ideas and come up with gold. It's a surprisingly spotty album from an artist who rarely puts a foot wrong.

Listen to: Crimson Tide, It Just Doesn't Happen