Poetic and rhapsodic, sometimes peculiarly so, Destroyer's Rubies will strike some listeners as enlightenment and others as frippery. Inspired by '70s folk rock, it's ramshackle, sun-touched music teetering on the pale voice of Canadian singer/songwriter Dan Bejar, who presents himself as the Destroyer who kills words, stacking them into cascading lyrics that, depending on your perspective, either shower or tumble upon you.
Bejar, while not as polarizing as Morrissey in his Smiths heyday, presents his own vision of poet on the verge of an epiphany, with distinctly overwhelming results. The music, played by Bejar and five other bandmates, weaves around his voice with whimsy and melancholia. On "Painter in Your Pocket," it dips from Bejar alone, strumming on acoustic guitar, to a cool, guitarless thump led by Fisher Rose on vibes, then a full-on reverie with Nicholas Bragg drawing out shimmering, melodic guitar. "Where did you get that light?/Where did you get that look?/Where did you get penchant for destruction in the way you talk," he sings. "I didn't stand a chance/I didn't stand at all/You looked OK with the others."
Some of the songs, particularly "Priest's Knees," are musically sophisticated, though in the end, all 10 tracks are dominated by Bejar's full-bore approach. Lyrically, he's consistently sardonic and biting (save for the monochromatic hook/chorus noise of "3000 Flowers"). Overall, it's all a bit too much.