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Standout Track: “Destroyer,” a gloomy, ash-grey torch song in which the narrator admits that while the flame she’s carrying has flickered, she can’t blow it out. After hinting at a lover’s indiscretions, frontwoman Libby Dorot sings, “I won’t beg you to stay, if you never leave,” while a slinky, deadened verse gives way to a big, hope-swallowing, Mogwai-esque chorus.
Musical Motivation: Breakups. Two of them, in fact. Then-guitarist Alfonso Bravo had just gone through one when he conceived “Destroyer.” Dorot, who also was emerging from a soured relationship, wrote most of the words. “He wanted to keep two lines of lyrics, and so I kind of got into what he was feeling,” says Dorot. “It’s kind of a product of both of us.” The song starts “from a place of real isolation—the guitar notes are solitary,” says drummer Sam Raymond. “When Libby starts to sing over top, the song becomes more on point. It’s a decimation of a person…it starts off very vulnerable and moves to a place of power.”
Ad Company: Raymond, Bravo, and guitarist Matt Holland dreamed up Rival Skies last year as a vehicle for streamlined post-rock sweep, sultry Portishead vocals, and lots and lots of effects. They found bassist Hays Holladay, also of Bluebrain, through mutual friends, and Dorot via Craiglist. “[The ad] said, ‘We promise we’re not creepy. Please come to our basement,” says Dorot. “They were totally creepy.” Adds Raymond: “We said we all had girlfriends but we lied.” Bravo and Holladay recently left the band but remain “in the brain trust”; the group plans to complete an EP at Holladay’s new Iguazu recording studio in Arlington.