Music News

Destroyer: Kaputt

What does Dan Bejar do for an encore?

At this point in his long, celebrated career, there's not much he can do. Today marks the release of his ninth LP, Kaputt, under his Destroyer moniker. Tha Vancouver singer-songwriter and New Pornographer has been churning out albums since 1996, yet Kaputt is a serious contender for some of his best work to date. If nothing else, it is Bejar's most expansive effort yet.

There exists a palpably corny smooth jazz feel to songs like "Chinatown" and "Kaputt" -- marking them from a bygone era sometime around 1985. It's the indelible smooth, polished feel, however, on such songs that makes Bejar's effort so geniune -- not to mention instantly listenable. Kaputt is his ode to the smoother, gentler and more innocent times of the late 70s and on into the 80s. Its excellent mark on 2011's slowly burgeoning roster of new music, however, is what will separate itself from the pack come December.

What the critics are saying:

Eye Weekly: For his most immaculate recording to date, Kaputt, Bejar situates himself in the champagne room at Studio 54 circa 1982, taking a front-row seat to the last days of disco alongside an entourage of honey-voiced female backup singers and smooooooth saxophone players.

Consequence Of Sound: Instead, it's that sort of "The Certain Things You Oughta Know" dreamy 80's synth-wash that dominates the record. In fact, the album is so cohesive in its 80's-possessed instrumentation that on first listen you'd think Bejar had made some fatal mistake.

Spin: Long on cryptic references (you mean you haven't read Curzio Malaparte's 1944 novel Kaputt?) and Euro-weary mood, the vintage electronic-pop ambience of Destroyer's ninth album recalls the days when MTV emphasized music.

Pitchfork: It seems absurd to look for genuine wisdom in music in 2011, when we're constantly gorging ourselves on the all-you-can-eat buffet of post-modern web culture. But Kaputt feels wise. Like a mirror that actually points back at something better.

Kaputt is out now via Merge. Please enjoy the video for titular track"Kaputt:"

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Michael Lopez