When the New Pornographers released their great new album Whiteout Conditions earlier this year, there was a conspicuous Dan Bejar-shaped absence. New Pornos ringleader A.C. Newman had a plain enough explanation: When he told Bejar that he was aiming for “bubblegum krautrock,” Bejar figured the “weird, quiet” songs he was writing weren’t going to fit and he’d keep working on a new Destroyer record.
That might’ve set us up to expect another discursive, string-laden affair like 2015’s Poison Season, but ken is not that at all. It finds Bejar going full synth-pop, though still being thoroughly Destroyer. These songs might shimmer and glisten, but they aren’t romantic throwbacks; Bejar still sings like the kind of guy who always travels with two packs of smokes and a flask of whiskey in his pocket. It’s an addicting record that features some of Bejar’s sharpest writing. We’d previously heard previews of it with “Sky’s Grey,” “Tinseltown Swimming In Blood,” and “Cover From The Sun,” and now the whole thing is out in the world. Check it out below.
ken is out now via Merge. Purchase it here.