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Dan Bejar started Destroyer as a solo project in Vancouver in 1995. His first album, We'll Build Them a Golden Bridge, was an electric folk record, setting the stage for the early Bowie comparisons that were certain to follow his particular vocal style. In 1998, Bejar added a rhythm section and took it into the studio for the first time. The resulting recording, City of Daughters, is a sparsely produced collection of catchy pop songs in which Bejar's increasingly obtuse lyrics really start to stand out. Thief, again recorded in Vancouver, was released in 2000, but by now the lineup had expanded into a quintet. The sparse production and the Bowie comparisons remained, but Bejar's cryptic lyrics and unique voice gave this rant against the music industry an original quality missing from many of that year's releases. The following year would see Destroyer's fourth album, Streethawk: A Seduction. Streethawk begins right where Thief leaves off. The production and the sound remain solid, but the lyrics have become even more obtuse. Stuck somewhere between literacy and nonsense, they must be considered poetry because any attempt to decipher meaning, however hidden, might drive the listener crazy. This Night was the next release, an oblique and melodic album that portrayed Bejar as a ranting, depressed singer.
Destroyer has not been the only vehicle for Bejar's talents — he is also one of the songwriters (along with Carl Newman of Zumpano) responsible for the much-acclaimed New Pornographers' Mass Romantic (Mint Records). This Night, which appeared in fall 2002, marked his first for Merge. His quirkiest material to date was captured on 2004's Your Blues. In 2005 Bejar collaborated with touring partners Frog Eyes on Notorious Lightning and Other Works, a six-track EP containing re-recorded versions of material from Your Blues with Frog Eyes as the backing band. In 2005 Bejar contributed three songs to the New Pornographers' critically acclaimed Twin Cinema and spent the better part of that year on tour with the Canadian supergroup. February 2006 saw the release of Destroyer's Rubies, a return to the guitar-based sound of This Night with a touch of Streethawk-era drama. After devoting some more time to the New Pornographers and Swan Lake, he returned to the sanctuary of his solo project, and released his eighth record, Trouble in Dreams, in March of 2008. The following year saw the release of Swan Lake's second outing, Enemy Mine, as well as the ambient Bay of Pigs EP (Destroyer). He contributed three tracks to the New Pornographers' fifth studio album, 2010's Together, before releasing 2011's Kaputt, his ninth LP under the Destroyer moniker. In 2013 Bejar issued the Five Spanish Songs EP, which featured material written by Spanish musician Antonio Luque of the band Sr. Chinarro.