Notorious Lightning and Other Works

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Fans that were disenchanted with Dan Bejer's 2004 foray into keyboard-driven melodrama, the eclectic and exhilarating Your Blues, will find this six-track companion piece to be the perfect elixir. Fresh off of his tour with fellow Canadian carny-barkers Frog Eyes, the Destroyer mastermind has concocted a raw, tense, and equally thrilling EP of guitar-heavy reworkings of Your Blues material with Frog Eyes as the house band. For the most part, things sound blissfully loose -- in that tight-when-it-counts, "we've been on the road for a long time" kind of way. Songs that were once plaintive and atmospheric, such as "Music Lovers" and "Your Blues," are now T. Rex-style dirges, and quirky anthems like "New Ways of Living" and "An Actors Revenge" take on a whole new sense of desperation. The insular keyboard lead that fueled "Notorious Lightning" is still there, but this time around it's distorted and distant, leaving room for Bejar and Frog Eyes screamer Carey Mercer to trade off banshee wails and nebulous moans. The band as a whole sounds delightfully panicked, causing its high-energy performance to feel both lived in and ripe for exorcism. Notorious Lightning and Other Works is heady and brief, but it needs to be, as its possessed ringleaders are two of indie rock's most insistent and volatile characters.

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