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Wednesday, May 24, 2017
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Destroyer: 'Kaputt' — 3.5 out of 5 stars

Tags: Music Reviews

Destroyer frontman Dan Bejar brings to mind that family uncle who is only seen on occasion, but every time he appears, all the kids jump up with joy to go greet him. He's seen the world, knows how to tell a story and the kids are always ready for a new tale from uncle Bejar.

A break from his membership in The New Pornographers, Dan Bejar's solo/side project Destroyer allows for a little more free-form experimentalism and creative freedom. Although Bejar has usually taken the more rock'n'roll approach with previous albums, his latest effort, Kaputt, resembles something completely different.

Bejar's trademark non-sequitur storytelling remains intact, but the sound of Kaputt hums in a more soothed-out, subdued way. Partially because of the curious choice of a saxophone as the lead instrument, the album has a cooling effect on the listener. Bejar's voice still echoes with lyrical couplings that stick in your head, but his voice blends into the background and performs much more to the effect of an instrument than anything else — a conscious choice according to Bejar who apparently recorded some of the vocals while lying on a couch.

Although the record might follow a more subtle, relaxed sound, it hasn't lost anything by going with a more stripped take. Instead, it's done the opposite. The words and instruments ring with heightened emotion. Every sound resonates with meaning, and Bejar's cleverness has never been so apparent. Going completely against the grain and expectations, Destroyer forges an unlikely sound: an ambient, pop record.

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