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Top Customer Reviews
Dan Bejar has been making albums as Destroyer since 1995, while also being a member of The New Pornographers and Swan Lake.
We blissfully knew nothing about that until we read a review of "Kaputt", his ninth album under this name. In it, "Avalon" by Roxy Music was cited by Bejar as a source of inspiration for this record. We were instantly interested, as "Avalon" is not your average influence to declare, is it? (People keep saying The Beatles and The Beach Boys).
Yet along Roxy there is much more going on on "Kaputt" as far as musical references are concerned. Add Steely Dan to the list, The Blue Nile, early Electronic ("Getting Away With It" in paricular) and a pinch of ambient Eno for what can only be described as a lithe stroll through the 70s / 80s Pop Valhalla.
Exciting? Yes, but do not think, not even for a moment, that this is a derivative album. "Kaputt" gleams with its own original style; it glides along with shimmerimg synths, jazzy curlicues of horns and flutes, short guitar solos and elastic disco beats that simply take you that little bit closer to heaven.
On top of it all sits Mr Bejar's voice. He is part singer part raconteur, blending successfully Momus, Lloyd Cole and Paul Buchanan into a delicious vocal moulinette. His is a bittersweet tone, relating tenderly wry lyrics on failure (personal and social) that rub like gentle sandpaper onto the smooth surface of the music. Mr Bejar is definitely a disappointed romantic, but one who cries into his glass while keeping in mind his love for beauty and intelligent artistic expression.
And this is why you should not miss this record. It is one of the most rewarding releases of the year so far, and it is destined to become an indie-pop classic.
Why go kaputt without it then?
Key tracks: Suicide Demo For Kara Walker, Chinatown, Bay Of Pigs.
But chilling out and sipping chardonnay to this soundtrack is not recommended. Upon closer inspection of this studied gentility, it becomes apparent that Bejar has a few issues, a longing that verges on loathing. His sing-speak vocals turn innocuous observations ("the tide comes in") into mantras. Or he'll paint violent images inside frameworks that sound conversational, almost tossed off: "I've seen it all, I've seen it all/Magnolia's a girl, her heart is made of wood/As apocalypse's go, that's pretty good, sha-la-la wouldn't you say?"
The tension between the lyrics and the pretty, pastel music is never resolved. In the background, a muted trumpet blows smoke rings
Consequently, Kaputt is somehow landed between the surprising success of Gayng's recent 10cc-homage Relayted and Twin Shadow's equally recent and smooth, retro disco. Suffice it to say, his work with The New Pornographers included, Dan Bejar has come a long way since 1996's We'll Build Them a Golden Bridge.
Once a challenge, Bejar's voice is now relaxed, almost velvet-like, so too his chosen medium - for example, "Song For America" comes on, in part at least, like Bill Withers' much-sampled "Lovely Day". As a result, Kaputt is by far the easiest listening LP in the Destroyer catalogue, but only the hasty would say the best. Finding its home in soft rock, light jazz and pop, not to mention 2011's must-have touchstones the saxophone and fretless bass, this is a record as likely to earn an army of haters as it is an ocean of plaudits.
Firmly dating the work, Bejar's wistful title track lists period publications: "Sounds, Smash Hits, Melody Maker and NME".Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Can I give this 6 stars please ? One of the greatest albums of last 20 years. Magnificent melodies, beautiful arrangements and intriguing vocals. Read morePublished 9 months ago by M. Webb
I had never heard of this band, but after readingq the review I bought it without listening to it and expecting to hear loud music since the name of the artist and the title of the... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Hans Westerlaken
A true masterpiece. It gives you the impression that it was recorded as an improvisation in the studio, yet it's so complex, so atmospheric and beautiful, unlike anything that Dan... Read morePublished on 8 Aug. 2013 by szarkan
Not really listened to Destroyer before but found this album to be excellent. Will be exploring more Destroyer in the future.Published on 15 Jan. 2013 by phil stewart
I came across this album by accident as I was trawling through the excellent Merge Records web site (home of She & Him, Superchunk and The Rosebuds). Read morePublished on 22 Jan. 2012 by Andy L
along with The War on Drugs, The Silver Seas, Tom Waits and Bon Iver for album of 2011.
Pitchfork's review sums it up best "Kaputt feels wise. Read more
Well, there's still a few weeks left but this is my favourite album of the year so far, and when you take into account what a good year it's been that's quite an accolade. Read morePublished on 7 Dec. 2011 by Unbeliever
Some albums are really difficult to classify, this one is impossible. Yes there are nods to the 80's but really you will struggle to find any other album sounding like this. Read morePublished on 8 Aug. 2011 by Ian Tandy