I have no idea how many times I listened to Your Blues (Merge), Daniel Bejar's sixth and most recent testament, in the hopes that with enough repetition it might get slightly less irritating--but the genius of it defeated me. Throughout the album's 12 grandiose, overripe tracks, the part-time New Pornographer plunders second-rate Weimar cabaret, English music-hall, and the smarmiest entries in the Beatles' catalog with the twisted glee of a necrophiliac who's just discovered that his paramour isn't quite dead. On "An Actor's Revenge" Bejar seems to make a winking acknowledgment of this process: though he's the only one to blame for the selection of sources his music pillages, he casts himself as an actor driven to "seek revenge upon the ones who fed him those ridiculous lines," his delivery so arch and fey he makes Stephen Merritt sound like Lemmy. Other songs conjure a trippy sci-fi atmosphere, only to puncture it with a stiletto-sharp detail: "I was a desert in love with extremes / You married well, a gentlewoman of means who kept the word 'Destroyer' embroidered on her jeans." This is probably one of the very best "pop" records of the year, but if you'll excuse me I'll be admiring it from a distance for a little while longer. Candyland Riots open; Frog Eyes play second. Tuesday, May 4, 9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 773-276-3600 or 800-594-8499.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Nicolas Bragg.