Arriving as the twin flame to The Destroyer released earlier this year, The Destroyer – Part 2 is the second album of 2019 by Toronto darkwave outfit TR/ST and functions as its necessary sequel. In the five years since the release of 2014’s Joyland, the project’s anchoring member Robert Alfons has taken inventory of himself by deconstructing the concept of shame, and addressing it head on.
The result is an exploration into interiority, emotion, and memory told through lo-fi vocals with an emphasis on atmosphere. The Destroyer – Part 2 establishes a new landscape from its predecessor by masterfully emphasizing ambiance and control. It’s a collection of contemplative, energetic, and sometimes sparse tracks that unfold like micro vignettes.
Though consistent, the album features similar thematic audio cues, like the repetitive use of slow, echoing, and hypnotic keys. “Enduring Chill” serves as an overture to the album, and exists as a wash of sound hinting at the peaks and troughs of the album’s sonic ambition. Elsewhere, “Darling” is dark and beautifully harrowing, providing lyrical robustness, and a spirit of experimentation. The slow-moving interlude “Cor” is held together with an almost-idiosyncratic melody.
“Iris,” however, is the album’s electro-pop standout. Executed as a hopeful, multi-layered track, it’s fitted with plenty of spacey synth lines that burst with energy and glimmer like confetti. You want to dance, but maybe by yourself.
The dynamic range of tracks on the album feels intentional. Together, they offer a vivid lens to understand the complexities of the album’s titular theme and contrasting emotions. On Part 2, Alfons refuses to shy away from the reality of these experiences, but attempts to explore how they often function together.