Friday, May 6, 2011

Destroyer: Kaputt

     Destroyer is the solo project of Daniel Bejar, who formed the 'band' in 1995, with Kaputt being his tenth full length album, released on Merge Records. I say 'band', as many do consider Destroyer to be a solo project, despite every album having full-length contributors. Dan himself has attributed this in interviews to the fact that he finds it hard to keep a band together. So, although I say solo, there are brilliant instruments played on this record, with a female voice that definitely cannot be Bejar's.
     The sounds on this album are ones of instrumental brilliance, with a prominent bluesy feel that underlines each track and ties the album together. If you want something upbeat and aggressive, step away now. Not that this record isn't good because it lacks these elements. If anything, quite the opposite is true. This nine track album is one of easy-listening peacefulness, swaying in the summer breeze and detailed in slight chiptune-like beats. The album art demonstrates this factor well, with it's wide open space and sense of calm silence. The people are standing, admiring the view, and I couldn't help but also admire the feel-good sound of this record.
     On some tracks, the blues element mentioned before is hidden out of sight, with only a muffled hint of it's sound coming through. On others though, like 'Suicide Demo For Kara Walker', the saxophone is a crucial part of the music, with it's soothing sound so clear I could visualise the musician taking deep breaths before playing. The level of instrumentation on the other songs is equally impressive, with the subtle changes in tone, backed by tinkling breezes, that just emulates perfection.
     Lyricism is another important part of Destroyer's sound, with complex and intriguing ideas, often borrowed from other artists. Even political rhetoric is used in this album, with Ronald Reagan's "Evil Empire" phrase managing to burrow it's way into the folds of this record. An exceptional recording quality accompanies these fantastically well-written verses, with every word of crystal clear diction. Sometimes Bejar's voice is backed by that of a female, but this only goes to emphasise it, rather than overpower the softness and soothing quality to his voice. This record in my eyes in an epitaph of well balanced instrumentals and vocals, that works perfectly to create something beautiful and uplifting.
     Some might say that Destroyer's sound is repetitive and boring, but I found each track to either focus on a different theme or support itself with a different rhythm. There isn't that dramatic difference in mood from track to track, for sure, but the album works like this. There isn't a switch from the soft to aggressive, which would upset the careful and thought provoking structure to this record, in my eyes at least. If you want something relaxing and peaceful, that comes close to perfection in regard to easy-listening music, but which retains that climactic edge to many of the songs, get this. That isn't a 'check this out', that is a 'get this now'. A joy to listen through, I recommend this to everybody.