Published Apr 16, 2019TR/ST's first release in five years channels mastermind Robert Alfons' experience in his new Los Angeles home base, contrasting warmth and franticness with cold and isolation. Alfons took a patiently careful approach, allowing his post-punk, dream pop, and industrial sounds to guide his growth.
Maya Postepski returns to co-write/produce six of the eight new tracks. At times it feels like TR/ST's new L.A. incarnation is remixing the previous Toronto one to produce something more subtle, bare, airy and uplifting. Old and new coexist harmoniously, without one overpowering the other.
"Control Me" embodies the intimate vulnerability of the album. The song asks the artist for the restraint exercised throughout, celebrating the ability to rein things in. This and "Gone" are the most conventional TR/ST songs to date.
"Unbleached," "Grouch" and "Bicep" are the juicy meat of the album — slick, understated, and more spacious than their counterparts on previous releases. Steadiness acts as a springboard for fluctuating bleeps and bloops and smooth transitions. The epic highlight, "Bicep" (originally released in 2017) delivers everything old TR/ST fans love the artist for — an all-encompassing, serious stomp of a dance track.
The mature The Destroyer – 1 offers less consistently urgent, fat danceability than previous TR/ST releases, but it is equally passionate and alluring. It will be interesting to see what part 2, due out in November, has to offer. (Royal Mountain Records)