Don't expect Dan Bejar's latest project to sound anything like the music he makes with his other bands, Destroyer and the New Pornographers. While Bejar arranges the tunes, strums the guitar, and plays backup singer throughout The Portrait Is Finished and I Have Failed to Capture Your Beauty, Hello, Blue Roses is really a vehicle for his girlfriend, singer Sydney Vermont.
Portrait sounds like a 1960 psych-folk record. There are lots of flutes, and Vermont's soft, wispy voice coats the entire album in a laid-back haze. But Bejar does his best to counter the sleepiness with his twisty guitar riffs. "Heron Song" and "Shadow Falls" start off slow, but they quietly build beats till a thick sonic fog, which recalls David Bowie's more esoteric recordings, emerges. But these reference points are few and far between. Except for the poppy "St. Angela," Portrait is a sad and reflective record that has little in common with Bejar's previous work. Good thing there's a new Destroyer album coming soon.