Streethawk: A Seduction
y first impression of Destroyer’s ‘Streethawk: A Seduction’ was ‘album of the year’. I usually have to listen to albums five or six times to get the full picture, know what the band is trying to get through to me, and appreciate their artistic goals. The first time I listened to this album, I was in a complete state of disbelief. There I was, lying on the couch, baseball on television, and this magnificent band playing this magnificent music to me and only me. I sat completely still, gawking at the brilliance of Bejar’s insight and effectiveness.
So great was my initial listening experience of this album that I feared approaching it again. Was the unapproachable brilliance that I had attached to this album merely a result of my mood at the time of the listen? I waited a full two days to approach the album again; during this time, I wondered if ‘Streethawk’ could really as breathtaking as I had remembered it. After much debate, I caved and spun it again. Surprisingly, the album’s twists and turns remained fresh, and the lyrics still seemed so thoughtful, and yet so natural. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner here.
Daniel Bejar’s impassioned squeak perfectly complements his fractured songwriting, which goes from soft folk to gleaming glam-rock in milliseconds. The accompanying instrumentation complements the mood of the songs perfectly, as Daniel elevates the mood with his lyrics and exuberant singing the band follows, the instruments swell appropriately. The arrangements, while not particularly technically challenging, are quite poignant, layering melody upon melody, achieving a delightfully magical effect. The album moves along nicely, contrasting styles effortlessly, bouncing from the Bossanova opening of ‘Virgin With a Memory’ to the galloping snare of ‘The Crossover’.
Though all the lyrics on this album radiate brilliance, one particular passage strikes me as particularly sharp. In the aforementioned ‘Virgin With a Memory’, Bejar sings ‘from No Use For a Name to the Make-Up, it’s all the same’, the latter representing the wholly forgettable portion of glam rock, the glam. Bejar’s statement here is ‘down with superficiality’, we have our rock right here, as Destroyer propels themselves head on into ‘The Very Modern Dance’, which starts off like some Lou Reed tune, a thumping rhythm with propulsive piano, that culminates with a beautiful piano-guitar counterpoint, which I can only describe as sparkling. The energy and beauty is breathtaking.
The album, with its pulsing imagination and truly scary innovation, makes music seem exciting again. Daniel uses his remarkable songwriting skills and surprising wisdom to paint us a vivid portrait of his world; it’s truly a pity we can only stay for forty minutes.
Reviewed by: Tyler Martin
Reviewed on: 2003-09-01