Swan Lake, Beast Moans

Andy Battaglia

By Andy Battaglia

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
The vocalists behind Destroyer, Wolf Parade and Frog Eyes get together for a pow-wow

Swan Lake is a conglomeration of three Canadian songwriters with similarly healthy, hectic reputations. Daniel Bejar makes his name as the leader of Destroyer (and as a member of The New Pornographers); Spencer Krug heads the march for Wolf Parade; and Carey Mercer helps find the focus for Frog Eyes. Together, they engage in a collaboration that trades in all the combative, conciliatory tension that true collaboration builds. Fans of the three bigger bands will hear traces of their provenance, but Swan Lake sounds murkier and moodier than any of the separate entities on their own. “City Calls” is typical for the way it churns and hisses like a cauldron in which juices from Destroyer, Wolf Parade and Frog Eyes drip and change phase into something more ethereal. “Venue Called Rubella” hews toward Canterbury psychedelia — all reverbed guitar and carnival organ — before drifting into repeated incantations of a song title significant mostly for its word-sound properties. All the way through, Beast Moans sounds like three friends sitting together on worn-out rugs with piles of guitars and tambourines to play with when the mood strikes.