I can't even quite peg the exact moment in time that Dan Bejar lost me. It was probably somewhere between the release of Your Blues and Destroyer's Rubies and possibly around the time of Twin Cinema by The New Pornographers. And it's not as if he completely lost me, as I still enjoy his music to some degree, but somewhere back two years or so ago his music stopped making that little spark in my head that I get when I listen to music that makes me excited.
Perhaps his prolific pace and propensity for collaboration with other groups simply wore me out a bit on his unique vocal styles and clever lyrical musings, and perhaps his nicely-crafted indie rock music simply became a bit too predictable. And so it's come to Trouble In Dreams, which is a release where I find it easier to find the few songs that really stick out rather than the ones that leave me feeling unmoved. One of these songs is "My Favourite Year," which runs a bit long at just over six minutes but sets itself apart nicely by drifting on a cloud of guitar haze, mellotron, and other warm drones before locking in about halfway through and cresting through until the soft comedown ending.
Likewise, "Foam Hands" builds from ultra-sparse moments into sort of well-worn movie soundscapes, as Bejar adds fairly understated vocals that are so absurd that the lilting pseudo-soundtrack music only adds to their effect. Speaking of lyrics, Bejar has always been a bit out-there, but Trouble In Dreams only continues down the line in terms of his wink-wink, nudge-nudge non-sequiteurs and downright confounding (and often frustrating) wordplay. I'll be the first to admit that when the music is compelling, I'll often overlook the words if there are lyrics, but I find it harder and harder to do that this time out. Eleven songs run fifty-three minutes, and at times it's a release that feels much longer. If you can't get enough of Bejar, you'll obviously want to check this out, but most others will feel like they've been down this road before.