BioDan Bejar started Destroyer as a solo home-recording experiment in the early to mid nineties. Working alone, and at his own pace, Bejar dabbled in four tracking and worked to develop his style and vision. He was meticulous in reworking songs again and again until he found confidence in his music and his voice. By 1996 he had culled enough material to release his debut full length, We’ll Build Them A Golden Bridge. Stripped down lo-fi electric folk, Golden Bridge introduced Dan as a major new talent in Vancouver. In 1998 Bejar added a rhythm section to Destroyer and headed into a real studio for the first time to record City Of Daughters, a sparsely produced but engagingly vibrant batch of songs in which Bejar’s unique and inventive lyrics began to evolve into an obtuse and poetically original voice. Destroyer expanded once again in early 2000, this time rounding out into a quintet for Thief, the third album, which provided an expanded canvas for Bejar’s cryptic and scathing indictments that warned of the pitfalls and pratfalls of the modern music industry (or at least that’s what everyone claimed he was singing about; Dan offered no explanations). By the time Streethawk: A Seduction hit the streets in 2001, the groundwork had been laid and a maelstrom of critical acclaim flowed all around. Streethawk was a highly refined and biting condemnation, a harsh satire of popular culture, an idea and conception honed to razor sharp perfection.
So where does Destroyer go from here…how does one top a masterpiece? Well, Bejar packed up and left Vancouver, heading off for a year in Montreal and later Madrid, effectively disbanding the group and starting over from scratch. When he returned from the wilderness, so-to-speak, it was with sprawling bombast and an obvious disdain for restraint or expectations. This Nigh, Destroyer album number 5 and Bejar’s debut on Merge Records, was released in the fall of 2002 and continued to raise the bar, confounding perceptions of what exactly Destroyer was, or could be. Epic and sprawling, it was the perfect foil to Streethawk’s sleek and refined approach. An unapologetic send up of rock & roll excess and conceit, This Night confused and amused in equal portions. But it was not long before Bejar was busy cooking up plans to turn the tables once again. Your Blues turned everything on its head with a vainglorious retreat from the American rock tradition. Released in the fall of 2004, Your Blues was a MIDI-synthesizer symphony celebrating an exercise in old-world excess, exploring what Bejar dubbed “European Blues”. When Dan decided to take Your Blues on the road for the most extensive touring of Destroyer’s career, he tore it all down again. Not even attempting to recreate the synth-heavy extravagance of the recordings, Bejar instead recruited Victoria spazz-rockers Frog Eyes as his backing band, rebuilding the songs from scratch for the live performance. The results were chronicled on the Notorious Lightning And Other Works EP, released in the spring of 2005.
Over the more than 10 years that Dan Bejar has been performing and recording as Destroyer, there have been numerous lineup changes and shifts within “the band”. This ever-evolving shuffle of musicians has led some to consider Destroyer as a solo project, but Dan has always insisted that he sees Destroyer as a band, with full contributions from his collaborators. Admittedly he’s just never been very good at the logistics of keeping a band together. All that is about to change as Bejar assures us that the current line-up of Destroyer that emerged from the recording sessions for Destroyer’s Rubies shall the definitive and permanent line up for the band from this point forward. Many members here have performed with Bejar in one form or another before, some on previous Destroyer albums. From the sound of things on this record, it will be a band to be reckoned with. We would also be remiss not to point out that the glue that holds all of this together are Dan’s longtime collaborators, the production team of JC/DC (John Collins and Dave Carswell).