DESTROYER – Kaputt (2011)

Review by: Nina A
Album assigned by: Dinar Khayrutdinov

Kaputt by Destroyer can be nothing else than a metal album, right? Right, but I am sure by the time you have laid your eyes on the beautifully washed out indie cover with some really curly but understated in size cursive writing, you would have probably dismissed that option too. And to tell you honestly, I had to dismiss several other preconceptions in order to fully appreciate the album. Like it actually being current or the product of 20-year old hipsters who think calling themselves Destroyer is the ultimate joke. No, people, the person about to bare his inner world before you is actually a 43-old (a couple years less at the time of recording) Canadian guy with some wild curly hairdo going on.
But let’s look at the music. The sound is obviously retro, and tasteful, in the best traditions of 80s sophisti-pop and probably going slightly beyond. Critics have compared this work to the output of a lot of 80s artists, and I will allow myself to draw a parallel to the Blue Nile’s work as well, at least in terms of how the songs are built on and heavily rely on a driving steady rhythm, and unravel into beautiful soundscapes when the occasion calls for it. Most notable in this respect are the two longest tracks here – “Suicide Demo for Kara Walker” and the closer “Bay of Pigs”, which are entire immersive mini-movements unto themselves.
Well of course the singing is not similarly big and evocative, nor drenched in emotion (or melancholy) but this is probably just as well because I don’t think that sort of attitude will fly in our subdued, self-referential and self-deprecating 21st century. In fact, Mr. Daniel Bejar’s unconvinced mumbling may take some getting used to but once you do, you can appreciate how well it fits the mood and intention of the songs. It is at just the right level of understated, which is not always easy to pull off, and the occasional female vocals (of The Beautiful South’s Briana Corrigan persuasion) really make the whole affair memorable.

Largely the same goes for the lyrics, they go with the music better than they would stand on their own, and they are of the dense, somewhat ironic and theatrically mock-introspective variation. America gets mentioned a lot, and also the typically millennial fascination with underachievement (“I was poor in love. I was poor in wealth. // I was okay in everything else there was.”) and futility (“Winter, spring, summer and fall, // animals crawl towards death’s embrace.”) makes an appearance more often than not.
But it all goes together well, this fascination with retro sound, beautiful trumpet embellishments, random lyrical musings, and of course that steady pumping rhythm that will guide you along on your Kaputt journey. So if you like a more tasteful and sophisticated take on indie music and don’t mind Daniel Bejar’s monologued musings in front of the mirror (which are really okay for the most part and sometimes even verge on admirably well-crafted), put on this sophisti-pop record disguised as an indie record disguised as a metal record and immerse yourselves without fear.
I for one was also poor in love and poor in wealth but now I am richer in the sounds of Kaputt and this almost makes up for it 🙂
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Author: tomymostalas

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