Kaputt is the ninth studio album by Destroyer, a collective of people who contribute to the band’s swelling back catalog, and even more so to Dan Bejar, the mastermind who has worked under the Destroyer moniker for the better part of 15 years.
This album is a definite throw back to the 80s, the disco beats mixed with a range of instruments from saxophones, synthesisers which is backed up with a lucid watery guitar that creates a wholesome testament to Soft Cell, The Style Council and many other artists from the 80s. But despite the recent trend of bands playing their past material, or new artists (such as Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti) projecting a modern version of an old genre, Destroyer have not jumped on the bandwagon as Kaputt revitalises the genre instead of simply adding to the defunct pile.
There is a lot of class and sophistication to the album, as if it should only be played in a grand theatre or at an opera. Frontman Dan Bejar’s vocals casually graze over the layers with a voice that bares the same power as David Bowie’s did. The way Bejar just slips into making noises allows tracks such as Savage Night At The Opera and Blue Eyes to produce an ambient interlude or two, this helps Kaputt become an album that is enjoyable when concentrated on, but also enjoyable when it’s playing in the background.
Savage Night At The Opera is probably the stand out song for me, because the drums sound so crisp, and the lucid guitar kicks in and simply melts within the grand atmosphere. Its pop structure is great because it becomes such a catchy track, and the way that Bejar includes many pop references in his lyrics makes for an even more interesting listen.
Each track has a ridiculous amount of atmosphere to them, as if they were recorded in a church, because the sound is so big. Infact, this album has a sexy appeal to it, the smooth jazz is performed to perfection and the saxophone solos arrive in the songs in such a sophisticated manner.
The longer tracks such as Suicide Demo for Kara Walker do not become dull at all, despite its 9 minute length, the song continuously remains interesting from it’s saxophone enhanced ambient beginning, to it’s explosion of disco infused pop at the end, it just never has moments where it becomes boring, which is a compliment to the amazing musicianship that Destroyer has.
Kaputt is an album that only comes around once in a lifetime, it doesn’t match up with the other albums that do the same purpose of harking back to previous decades, it goes way beyond them. It has taken the elements of the 80s music scene, and crafted them into a much better product. It’s full of charm, pleasure and allure and has very little wrong with it. Whether or not this is a novelty album, it’s a very good one that should be heard anyway.