Poison Season continually darts over the line between theatricality and subtly managing to be both a vibrant Friday night and a lazy Sunday afternoon. It reaches a catharsis as many times as it chooses to fade away. That said, individual tracks cannot be pigeon-holed into these contrasting categories. Rather it is a feeling Destroyer’s new album embodies – the feeling of experimentation, freedom and imagination. Frontman Dan Bejar has said that each album is a new beginning for his band, and the latest record only reiterates the idea that they are not bound by convention. The distinctive oppositions make for a compelling effect.
From the energy of ‘Dream Lover’ to the chilling beauty of ‘Girl in a Sling’, Poison Season is an absorbing experience. Lyrically it engages, bewilders, and empowers. The words Bejar has penned are truly poetic and delivered through expressive vocals that awaken the stories. ‘Hell’ is equally as captivating, for it speaks in riddles and is dripping with peculiarities. A vast number of instruments are involved, every one inflating the track’s fanfare. ‘Times Square, Poison Season I’ is reprised twice more on the record, as Destroyer play with arrangements, styles, and aesthetics. They negotiate the trap of monotony well as each variation is distinct from the others.
Poison Season is an acquired taste, and perseverance is the key to enjoying it. Perhaps it is too orchestral, unnecessarily dramatic, and unfitting for its time. But uniqueness should be celebrated. Whether its oddity appeals to you or not, the record can still be appreciated for the talent and passion it conveys.