In perhaps his strangest career move to date, Destroyer’s Dan Bejar has crafted his trendiest record yet. I say the album is trendy because there is so much soft rock and 80s r&b creeping into indie music these days, and it’s all over Kaputt as well. Whether it’s Gayngs or How To Dress Well, the influence of Bryan Ferry or Sade has never been so prevelant. But Bejar is a weird one, and these extremely accessible influences in his hands make for some unique listening. Bejar’s lyrics and delivery are as relaxed as the soft rock that accompanies them, and as improvised as the acid jazz roots that linger throughout it. Last year gave us “Bay of Pigs” and its trippy midnight disco poetry. It rounds out the album this year in slightly abridged form. It may be the best song on the album, but the newer songs are incredible as well.
Lyrically, Kaputt is more focused than most of his previous albums. Bejar’s wit, absurdity and irony keep this from being an hour long mourning, but it is definitely a nostalgic, drunken affair. More than anything though, this is Destroyer sounding sexier than they ever have before. Heck, if you’ve got a nerdy enough love interest this may be your new make-out album. But the wandering people of Kaputt may not be joining you in this mutual affection. His characters are “poor in love” and “chasing cocaine to the back rooms of the world”. There is a pervading late night feel throughout and Bejar’s rambling plays like the perfect romantic after hours conversation you sort of remember having but never truly piece together (not that any of us communicate like Bejar does). This may in fact be his most bizarre album, but with the laid back vocal delivery and elevator music-esque instrumentation, I can see Kaputt gaining Destroyer a whole new group of followers. Songs like “Chinatown” and “Kaputt” are becoming ubiquitous around the blogosphere, and there are a few other standout numbers on this record as well.
The Bowie comparisons have been around since We’ll Build Them a Golden Bridge came out fifteen years ago. Back then, like Bowie, Destroyer was a kooky glam-folk rocker. And now, like Bowie, Destroyer has amassed a vast catalogue of sounds. From folk to glam to disco to prog to r&b, they’ve both done it all, and done it all well. Irreverence aside, Bejar is a more talented songwriter. His songs will never be as appealing as many of David Bowie’s are, but it is for certain, that Kaputt is another excellent work in the now legendary career of Destroyer.