Features | Awards

The Number of the Beast Award for Best Album Only 2/3 Any Good

By Dom Sinacola | 16 December 2009

Swan Lake :: Enemy Mine
(Jagjaguwar; 2009)

On the heels of the flaying Skin of Evil and a month or two before Dragonslayer finally gave the band the notice it deserved while compromising nothing in Spencer Krug’s intra-career diatribe, Enemy Mine, Swan Lake’s second album, slipped in early spring-ish to simultaneously validate Krug’s and Carey Mercer’s late-decade prolificacy and remind those less than punctual to the game where the two started. Meaning: together. Also available is red-headed stepchild Dan Bejar, probably real excited to be part of the band’s whole governing conceit that each member receive equal play concerning songwriting credits because the other 2/3 of the band were crafting some of the most effortless, confident cuts of their quickly bloating songbooks (“Warlock Psychologist” is decapitating, better than anything off Skin of Evil; “Hand At Dusk” made me cry once in March, in the evening no less).

But here’s Bejar, as he has been since 2006, a depilatory dud. How can anyone stand this guy? Were his burdens maturing or his relationships growing, then perhaps his lyrics wouldn’t seem to devolve, further year by year, into one long audience-loathing mess about Dan Bejar for Dan Bejar. Were the Bay of Pigs EP as grand as the man’s ego, then perhaps the cover wouldn’t be so fitting: us running away from Destroyer, down the stairs out of his ivory tower until his Fraggle Rock noggin is nothing but a dust mote in our collective consciousness. You can’t touch us now, Bejar! Instead, in simplest terms, as Mercer begins to rely less on glut and more on cathartic melody, as Krug begins to trust concision, Dan Bejar stays exactly the fucking same. What could have been an AOTY is totaled, now just a sign, carved into the foreheads of all those complicit, of Dan’s willing slurp up into his own asshole.