It's no surprise that a record called Destroyer's Rubies (as opposed to, you know, just Rubies) is endlessly self-referential to Dan Bejar's earlier works. As you read this, Bejar acolytes are furiously footnoting every mention of his old songs, albums and motifs, as if it would help divine meaning from these dense, complex songs. While Bejar can't shake himself of his favorite themes (the artifice of music, the fading American underground, his own artificial underground music), Rubies improves on his last two albums by ditching noodly jamming and brittle MIDI for a full-bodied, well-rehearsed band. The fun (or frustration) of a Destroyer record is getting lost in its self-contained, self-sufficient universe, where the slow spiral of repetition leads to disorientation and (if you buy Destroyer's shtick) surrender. Think of it this way: If you can make it through the nine-minute opener "Rubies," a fractured fairy tale with tossed-off Dylan and Beatles quotes in lieu of an actual chorus, you'll be hooked.
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