Over the past few years of this site’s almost nine year history, I’ve written quite a bit about Toronto, ON-born, Los Angeles, CA-based JOVM mainstay Robert Alfons, best known for his solo electro pop recording TR/ST. Now, as you may recall, Alfons has released two critically and commercially successful full-lengths 2012’s self-titled effort and 2014’s sophomore effort Joyland. Interestingly, Joyland was a decided change in sonic direction for the Toronto-born, Los Angeles-based electronic music producer and artist with the material being much more pop orientated while possessing a muscular, club banging thump.
Five years have passed since the release of his sophomore album and as it turns out, the Toronto-born, Los Angeles-based JOVM mainstay had been writing and recording new material in a farmhouse in Southern Ontario and Los Angeles, where he recently relocated. During those writing and recording sessions, which resulted in his forthcoming two album effort Destroyer 1 and Destroyer 2, Alfons worked with a cast of all-star collaborators that included Austra’s Maya Postepski, with whom he collaborated with on his self-titled debut; Postepski co-wrote and co-produced six of the album’s songs. Alfons also worked with co-producers Lars Stalfors and Damian Taylor to further refine the album’s sound. As Alfons eventually learned during the Destroyer writing and recording process was that patience would wind up being a major ingredient and influence on his songwriting approach and the album’s overall sound.
“The environment I work in has always guided me. But it took a long time to submit to the kind of patience these songs were asking of me. I was getting glimpses of what I wanted to achieve with the album,” Alfons says in press notes. “But it wasn’t feeling cohesive; things weren’t aligning in a clear direction. My first two records were put out so close to one another that I think of them as one. They just poured out of me.” With The Destroyer, the process was entirely different. “It was so much more careful. I found myself seeking spaces of absolute quiet; I needed them in order to hear what was going on inside.”
Destroyer 1’s first single “Gone” was built around shimmering and arpeggiated synths, stuttering beats, a motorik groove and a soaring and incredibly anthemic hook. And while managing to have a radio friendly accessibility, the song is centered around a swooning and urgent Romanticism that recalls 80s synth pop and New Wave — in particular, New Order’s “Bizarre Love Triangle,” comes to mind. “Unbleached,” Destroyer 1’s second and latest single is a murky single co-written by Maya Postepski that features layers of arpeggiated synths, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, explosive hi-hat, and an infectious and anthemic hook paired with Alfons’ plaintive vocals ethereally floating over the mix. Interestingly as Alfons says in press notes “So happy to share the first collaboration song that me and Maya wrote for the album. This was an ode to the sound of rats running in the roof!’
The Destroyer 1 is slated for an April 19, 2019 release through Grouch/House Arrest Records with The Destroyer slated for a November release.