A Yacht Rock Album By One Of Those Newfangled Pornographers

Destroyer – Kaputt

Album Review


On January 25th 2011, seasoned indie veterans, Destroyer, released Kaputt on Merge Records.  The newest in an impressively lengthy catalogue, this is their 9th LP.

I’ve always been a sucker for the smooth sounds of the 70’s and 80’s.  Albums like Steely Dan’s Gaucho and Roxy Music’s cheesy opus, Avalon never cease to make me smile, I think it’s the sincere effort towards being suave and its obvious failure in today’s context that’s endearing to me.  Destroyer, a long time side project of The New Pornographer’s Dan Bejar has always been able to bring that sound to the indie rock table, but this album is especially effective at doing so.  I really enjoyed Destroyer’s latest if only for that very reason.

Woodwinds and acoustic guitars serve as the backdrop at almost every turn, Bejar’s crooning is hypnotic as ever, every song is smooth as silk.  It’s comforting in the truest sense of the word.  I’ve been falling asleep to it for the last week and a half straight and that is no complaint from yours truly.

Simple, everyday lyrics with a veiled, deeper meaning are another endearing part of Destroyer’s repertoire.  On “Blue Eyes”, Bejar sings “I thumb through the books on your shelves.” a line so simple sung in a manner that only Bejar could make sound beautiful.  No doubt a slice of a personal memory that obviously means so much to him and needs no explanation to the listener.  This album is littered with moments that make you wonder what the band has been through in order to write them.  It is a joy to listen to.

However, there are some elements that leave a bit to be desired.  Mainly, these gripes of mine lie in the abundance of consistency.  When it comes down to it, this has always been my problem with Destroyer in general.  Consider 2006’s Destroyer’s Rubies, where 70 percent of its lyrics consisted of “la la la la la, la la la la”.  They have a tendency to drive an single audio spike into the track and ignore most of the other spikes, which usually ends up in a good old fashioned derailing.  I realize that’s putting it a bit harshly, but it has to be said.  Otherwise, Destroyer’s got themselves a hit here.  Give it a shot if you like that yacht rock sound that put bread on Seals’, Crofts’, Hall’s, and Oats’ tables for so damn long.  Oh yeah, it also bought them lots of coke.

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