Judging from only the first month of the year, apparently 2011 is the year of the return of the saxophone. But contrasting with the upbeat sounds from Iron and Wine's newest, the saxophone solos on Destroyer's Kaputt, embody a smooth lounge sound that characterizes much of the sound of the album. Destroyer's newest is an unnervingly warm record that bears a lot of weight beneath the smooth brass colors and disco beats. In other words, Dan Bejar's strange songwriting has been suppressed into feel-good elevator music, Kenny G style, if you can believe it. A bit unsurprisingly though, it fits right in with the Roxy Music-inspired trends of indie pop these days. Fortunately, Kaputt strips away the the lo-fi and garage rock aspects of many similar records and creates a sound that is as pristine and well-produced as it is nostalgic.
Flowing together from song to song, the album often feels much less like a collection of songs and more like one elevated experience spread out through the different tracks. But thing is for sure: Bejar doesn't beat around the bush about the intended high feeling that the album portrays. In the title track, Bejar spins an incredibly catchy melody over these explicit remarks: "Wasting your days chasing some girls alright/Chasing cocaine through the backrooms of the world all night". Its a strange fantasy for this genre to idolize, but Bejar does it so convincingly that you won't be second guessing his intentions. While the silliness of it all certainly puts it passed being autobiographical, this is the impression that much of Kaputt gives off. Even the more upbeat tracks like "Savage Night at the Opera" feel like New Order on a heavy drug trip. Most of the tracks have this affect, and if you buy into it, Bejar's soothing melodies and synths will make you like the 80s adult contemporary genre more than you ever thought you would.
However, all good things must come to an end and thus the unique sound does admittedly get old. The textures and chord progressions that start the album feeling fresh get a bit stale by the time you get to "Song for America". In fact, the album might have been fatally over-saturated if it were not for the magnificent closing track, "Bay of Pigs". The eleven-minute song starts out ambient and exploratory featuring the very best of Bejar's sporadic melodies and abstract lyrics. Slowly evolving into a delightful disco beat, the track is brimming with emotion and desire. Like M83's Saturdays = Youth from a few years ago, or a number of other successful retro creations of the indie pop world, Kaputt continues the trend of successfully reviving genres that you never thought you wanted revived and somehow making them likable.
Destroyer - Kaputt