This is not a Dan Bejar album. While the Destroyer frontman and occasional New Pornographer is the obvious reason for the buzz over Hello, Blue Roses‘ debut, it’s the duo’s Sydney Vermont who owns the record. The visual artist may be Bejar’s real-life better half, but I wish he’d left more of his own imprint on these songs.
Too many of the 14 tracks (including a particularly interminable second-half run, during which the songs don’t even bother to have introductions) are slim, similar acoustic-strummed folk tunes, a far cry from Destroyer’s recent raucousness. He does bring his electric eccentricity to several of the songs, but it’s his voice that’s mostly absent. That’s not a total loss: Vermont is a beautiful Mia Doi Todd-esque soprano, one who sings in stark contrast to Bejar’s bark. The duo harmonize – if you can call it that – charmingly, particularly on the last track, “Hymn,” in which Vermont effortlessly navigates an elaborate melody while Bejar fumbles through it like Steve McNair. The synth-y single “Shadow Falls” is another highlight; it also sounds nothing like the rest of the album. Hello, good marketing?
Hello, Blue Roses – “Shadow Falls”: mp3
Hello, Blue Roses – “Sunny Skies”: mp3
(The Portrait Is Finished and I Have Failed to Capture Your Beauty… is due 1/22 on Locust)
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