Destroyer: Kaputt (Merge) | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Issue #34 - Year End 2010 - Sufjan StevensDestroyer



Jan 31, 2011 Issue #34 - Year End 2010 - Sufjan Stevens Bookmark and Share

Destroyer frontman Dan Bejar sings “I write poetry for myself” during Kaputt‘s “Blue Eyes,” and it reads like a modus operandi for his adventurous will over the past decade. The track’s New Wave-y, rainy day disco and smooth jazz filigrees speck many of the songs on Bejar’s latest musical wonder. It’s the fitful culmination after 2009’s Bay of Pigs EP and 2010’s ambient 12”, Archer on the Beach. Bay of Pigs’ classic title track slots quite nicely as the denouement here. The troubadour masterfully sets the tone of a drunken rambler standing “alone in the dark/at the park or at the pier/watching ships disappear in the rain…” Bejar’s most feverish enthusiasts will have plenty to latch onto as the obfuscated disco epic unfurls its apocalyptic murmurings, dance-floor poise, and sunset-bathed Spanish guitar. A pre-release missive from Bejar mentioned a myriad of influences for Kaputt, such as ‘80s Miles Davis, ‘90s Gil Evans, Last Tango in Paris, Roxy Music’s Avalon, and the “pointlessness of writing songs for today.”

It’s that last quotation that intrigues the mind the most. Bejar might be disgruntled with the current state of music, but he sings on the crushing album opener “Downtown” as though he enjoys being “swallowed up in the squall.” The saxophone-flecked romancer with fellow Vancouverian Sibel Thrasher bleeds right into the aforementioned “Blues Eyes.” Bejar’s oceanic-eyed muse of “jacked-up sorrow” sends him a “coffin of roses,” but he’s too lost in the cyclone of life, sipping on scarlet wine and mailing pity letters to the press. Both tracks sidestep Destroyer’s lyrical aloofness and underscore his affinity for scene setting.

It’s inspiring to be keyed up for modern music crafted by such a naysayer. His quicksilver songwriting is in full bloom during Kaputt‘s midsection: a New Wave backbeat ascends on “Savage Night at the Opera,” a Roxy Music-esque flute-rock jam mutates into an ambient-disco jawn on “Suicide Demo For Kara Walker,” and the title track is a lusty, dilapidated paean to the ‘80s idea of cocaine addiction. They’re all nearly beyond reproach. A Destroyer album is a meandering sea voyage that wraps its many legs around your cold dead heart like a warm wine. Sure it’s a little pretentious, but poetic license feels more like a savage gift in Bejar’s hands. (

Author rating: 8/10

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