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Kaputt

4.6 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (25 Jan. 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: ADA [Wea 1-Stop Account]
  • ASIN: B004DY4Z6O
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 274,730 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD
Being a perfect ignoramus can lead to great discoveries.

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.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
"Kaputt" is Bejar seemingly at his mellowest, drifting through a world shrouded in synthetic keyboard fog and saxophones. But surfaces can be deceiving. Reference points include the carefully manicured work of Donald Fagen, Bryan Ferry and Talk Talk, and Blue Nile's 1989 album, "Hats," a clinic in how to extract warmth, color and humanity from cold technology. On the ninth Destroyer album, Bejar takes his own voyage down the Blue Nile into that era, with its smooth-jazz signifiers of semi-sophisticated adulthood (saxophone, flute) and gauzy lounge-music textures.

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
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Format: Audio CD
Smooth synths, relaxing sax melodies that you would expect to hear on an elevator, and very groovy vocal techniques dominate 'Kaputt', the ninth album from Destroyer, lead by the eccentric Dan Bejar. From listening to the songs, and watching the video for the titular track 'Kaputt', you could be forgiven for thinking that this is a spoof, but it simply isn't; Bejar has always been known for his multi-layered, cryptic lyrics and it's no different for this album, an outstanding effort that you are freely able to listen to no matter how you feel. Every track here is a winner and they vary greatly in length, my only complaint is that some will find the album too odd, and more humourous than brilliant. However, 'Kaputt' is an album that I fully recommend, and one that could turn out to be a dark horse for the end of year 'best of' lists.
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Format: Audio CD
It's a safe bet the fear of God is put into anyone coming across a one-sheet offering Simply Red by way of comparison. Hold on to your hats, for the one that comes with Destroyer's Kaputt also readily puts forward Steely Dan and Sade too. It is with massive relief then that, amidst the very questionable waters of `82/'83, Kaputt is diluted with flourishes attributable to comparative musical deities Roxy Music and New Order - the latter of whom's soft bass falls can firmly be heard marking out their territory on "Savage Night At The Opera", if not elsewhere.

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".
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