LABYRINTHITIS

Destroyer

LABYRINTHITIS

For all the different forms his music has assumed over the years—glam, chamber-folk, yacht rock, dream-pop—you can readily identify any Destroyer song the instant that Dan Bejar opens his mouth to dispense his cryptic yet deliciously dramatic narratives. And no record in his long, winding career puts that theory to the test as gleefully as LABYRINTHITIS, an album that’s essentially the musical manifestation of his famously frizzy, mad-scientist hairdo: It’s bursting with wild sonic ideas that shoot off in every direction, yet it’s always unmistakably him. After luring us in with the warm, shoegazey synth drones and subaquatic bass throb of “It’s in Your Heart Now,” LABYRINTHITIS traps us in its maniacal maze and dares us to find a way out: “June” deviously blurs the line between polyrhythmic post-punk and ’80s adult-contemporary pop before free-falling into a bizarre, voice-modulated spoken-word breakdown; “Tintoretto, It’s for You” is part louche cabaret strut, part festival-EDM meltdown. But LABYRINTHITIS’s boldness of vision also yields rousing moments of release (“Suffer,” “It Takes a Thief”) that infuse the pop elegance of 2011’s Kaputt with a little extra kapow. The instrumental title track provides a welcome mid-album reprieve in which the band crafts a Boards of Canada-worthy pastorale, complete with the comforting sounds of chattering children.

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