Friday, February 25, 2011

Destroyer :: Kaputt

Destroyer :: Kaputt ~ Merge Records ~  Vancouver, Canada ~ January 25th 2011

Kaputt is a swooping and swelling piece of ambiance, taking Destroyer's usually guitarocentric music into alternate arrangements. The synth, saxophone, and female backing vocals form a sleezy and sexy lounge club aesthetic that provides a different niche, or perhaps outlet, for Daniel Bejar's goofy vocals. Destroyer lyrics have always been loaded with reflection on the music industry and Bejar's place in it. The overall effect of Kaputt gives the impression of a man exhausted with his struggle, perhaps attempting to embody what he feels he's been reduced to. As such, it sounds kind of like a bad old MTV R&B video or 80's porno music.

It is loaded with introspection and some social commentary, like "It's not a war until someone loses and eye" on "Savage Night at the Opera." All of it, even the sound, can be taken with a beautifully dry sense of humor. The line "I write poetry for myself" on "Blue Eyes" switches off between a declaration of artistic intention and the random ramblings of a pill-riddled and distracted mind. "I wrote a song for America, they told me it was clever" seems to haunt and confuse Bejar in "Song for America." You have to wonder which song from the Destroyer back-catalog is the song for America.

Like The National's High Violet last year, Kaputt is a record that inspires an interesting idea: that the album make much more sense in the context of the artists other work. Kaputt is very much a subversion of Destroyer's style. Albums like City of Daughters are mostly composed of acoustic guitar and tomes of lyrics. Even when the band branched out into experimental territory as on the cleverly composed Streethawk: A Seduction, it was still focused on words and guitar. Kaputt is a sonically distinct album, very well self-contained, and surprisingly more focused on the music than the words. A good example is the vinyl only exclusive "track" or tracks or sequence entitled "The Laziest River." The LP comes with one side of the double vinyl completely devoted to the sound experiment composed of five parts. Like "The Bay of Pigs (Detail)," it is patient and serves as a nice twenty minute introduction to the song.

Kaputt is a lovely experiment for the Vancouver band and when seen live it seems to make all the more frizzy haired sense.

"Downtown" on Jimmy Fallon::

Music Video for "Kaputt" Directed by Dawn Garcia (further gloriously explaining the oddity and that dry sense of humor) ::

Tracklisting ::

01. Chinatown
02. Blue Eyes
03. Savage Night at the Opera
04. Suicide Demo for Kara Walker
05. Poor in Love
06. Kaputt
07. Downtown
08. Song for America
09. Prelude (Estuary)
10. Nagel's Marimba
11. The Laziest River
12. Palm Springs Life
13. Landing on Water
14. Bay of Pigs (Detail)

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