Destroyer’s Dan Bejar has always been the sort to overshadow his music through his verbosity and the sheer precociousness of his vocal inflection. Fortunately, with his 3-D attention to production and his knack for atmospheric, cabaret-style ballads populated by pianos, strings and jazzed-out guitars, he pulls it off. Like the love child of David Bowie and Bob Dylan and the sibling of Luna’s Dean Wareham, Bejar has attracted fans and critical praise for his bombastic used-bookstore brain, his affably indecipherable nasal croon and his penchant for drifting into reverb-y, shimmering space jams.
Bejar sugars his usual dose of medicinal lyrics with delicacies such as “common scars brought us together” (“Introducing Angels”) and “blue flower, blue flames / a woman by another name is not a woman” (“Blue Flower / Blue Flames”), an obvious reference to his new beau Sydney Vermont and their duo Hello, Blue Roses. Trouble in Dreams is balanced by a more direct sound than Destroyer’s Rubies’ meandering one. Tracks such as “Dark Leaves Form a Thread,” “The State” (complete with a ghostly organ solo) and the shining “My Favourite Year” cut the meandering ‘Euro-blues’ to a minimum, adding percussion that is more characteristically drum-y than filler-y and vocals that are more spot-on than anything that Bejar has completed to date. It isn’t necessarily a pop album, but it has little pockets of silver lining peeking through that previously didn’t exist.