“Bay of Pigs” (Stream)

    Has anyone made pretensions work more for them than Dan Bejar? Besides, perhaps, David Bowie? The answer is probably not. And on the new Destroyer EP, Bay of Pigs, Bejar once again takes his pretentious skills to soaring and brilliant heights. The 13-minute-plus title track, which takes up the entire A-side of this limited edition 12-inch, is being touted as “ambient disco” but really just twists the midi experiments of Bejar’s Your Blues album into something much more expansive and smudged at its far-off edges. But over the barely-there electro-drones and dance-beat blips, Bejar turns in one of his best vocal performances to date. He tells this long, labyrinthine story (that may or may not have anything to do with the actual Bay of Pigs) with stunning emotional range. Check his tired groan on the line, “The world’s just bones,” before he’s later jarred into anger, singing between his teeth, “I still fly into rages at the mention of your name.” The highs and lows he moves through here are awfully impressive. He still makes all kinds of musical references, drops in girls’ names, and makes wistful nods to the 90’s. But leave it to an eccentric mind like Bejar’s to take all those same tools, blow them up into something this bloated and hard to contain, and still come away with something this engaging. Bowie did the same thing, I think, but it was with his make-up.


    Bay of Pigs is out Aug. 18 on Merge. You can preorder it here. Stream available at Stereogum.