Mar 21, 2011


In some eyes "Kaputt" would be seen as a masterpiece. Another vibrant and compelling chapter in the lifecycle of Destroyer. I can understand that point of view, as this album is surely grand, expansive and gracefully complex. It is ambitious and original. But, but I can't fall in love with it totally. Which is quite hurtful, as I regard, and still do, Dan Bejar as a true musical visionary. A prophet of melody and lyric. Truth. He has stated in interviews that he was rather bored with the Indie Rock idiom and wanted to explore. Which I find admirable and laudable. But his forays into 7os soft rock, complete with synth and saxophone don't always hit the right target. When they do, as in "Suicide Demo for Kara Walker, they are spectacular. But in others, such as "Blue Eyes", they are skip over material. I never thought I would ever hit skip on a Destroyer album. Only repeat. Maybe it's me. Maybe I just don't understand.

The two opening tracks on "Kaputt" are not overwhelming. "Chinatown" is a pleasant start, creating a soft and lilting groove. But it doesn't grab you by the neck. Basically it's the saxophone. I am just not a fan. No matter how hard I try the sound doesn't connect with me. In some cases the deeper range of a tenor sax can work OK, but any higher range I just find annoying. It worsens on "Blue Eyes", which combines sax, cheesy synth and the addition of female vocals which are actually quite off putting. But then the next two tracks are stellar and sublime. "Savage Night At The Opera" is bouncy and sleek and fairly pulses away, whilst "Suicide Demo for Kara Walker" is a veritable wonder stroke. A concoction of sublime proportions. "Poor In Love" follows the mood established with its wondrous melody and light touch. However the title track and "Downtown" represent a mixed bag of sorts. Sure, there are great elements in both songs but also moments when I feel distanced again. Strangely, or perhaps truthfully, the greatest song on the album is the one that was recorded originally for another session. "Bay Of Pigs (Detail)" was first brought to light as a 12" last year. It was magnificent then and it is still magnificent now, even though it actually feels slightly out of place. This sumptuous delight is entrancing and vital in its unique design. So, the album comes to an end. As said, it is brave and original. Truly one of a kind. But I can't love all of it. But what I do love, I do so with a passion. Bejar still leads the world in inscrutable melody and his detached vocals and cryptic lyrics are a major selling point. I just wish he didn't background it with instrumentation that sometimes draws me away from the flame. Still burning brightly.

Lyrical gems from the pen of Bejar
I stare at the sky so I know which way that
I drink my wine from a porcelain cup.
You're a permanent figure of jacked up sorrow.
All that slender-wristed white translucent business passes for love, these days...
Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall...
Animals crawl towards death's embrace.
The world is black stones dressed up in the rain
with no place to go but home


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