Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Album Review: "Kaputt" by Destroyer

"Kaputt" was released on January 25, 2011 on Durham's
Merge Records
Destroyer's Dan Bejar is a man that doesn't stick with one sound for much too long, and the one that he's created on "Kaputt" is one that leaves you completely entranced throughout the entire album, wondering quite frankly what will happen next.  There's moments where you could swear you're listening to new wave and then these easy listening esque saxophone riffs start playing and you're swayed in a completely different direction.  New sound aside, this album is something that kicks the year off right for Durham's Merge Records, as it's a truly great album.

"Kaputt" is Destroyer's fifth release on Merge Records, based out of Durham, North Carolina.  Dan Bejar, the vocalist for Destroyer, has also collaborated on multiple albums with The New Pornographers and is a member of Canadian supergroup Swan Lake as well.

Bejar crafted a brilliant album with Kaputt, creating, as previously stated, an absolutely enthralling sound that blends new wave with a feeling of jazz pop.  Either way Bejar takes 50 minutes and makes it feel like nothing, the album flows so smoothly together and progresses so excellently along the way.  The album immediately draws you in with the track "Chinatown" that features soaring saxophones and the poppy, upbeat synth sounds that drive you through the album.  A track that can really display all that this album features can be found in the title track, "Kaputt".  Bejar sings with a sincerity of "Wasting your days chasing some girl/Alright, chasing cocaine/Through the back rooms of the world all night".

Bejar's talent really shines through though on the tracks that are allowed to flesh out and become something truly epic.  For example, album closer Bay of Pigs starts out with a soft and subtle sound, the lyrics kick in with "Listen, I've been drinking/as our house lies in ruin/I don't know what I'm doin'" and you suddenly are immediately thrusted into this song, lingering on every word that Bejar lets fall from his mouth.  This is something that I find myself doing many times throughout the album, especially on songs like "Suicide Demo for Kara Walker", another one of those longer tracks, which had lyrics contributed by artist Kara Walker and eloquently sang by Bejar.  It's things like this that make "Kaputt" such an enjoyable album to listen to.  Lyrics like "Fool child you're never gonna make it/New York City just wants to see you naked, and they will" can grab you out of your trance and bring you back to reality with a certain rawness.

"Kaputt" certainly sets a watermark for 2011 albums so far, and even though we're not even a full month into the year, Destroyer has definitely kicked the year off in the perfect way.  "Kaputt" is a versatile album as well, one that you can sit down and just absorb, getting something new from it each time, or you could just put it on as background music and be 100% satisfied with only the sounds that it creates.  Either way, "Kaputt" is definitely an album that you should be checking out.

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