Five albums remain. I'm going for the troop surge in Helmand approach for the rest of September here, so we can pull out of this sorry mess and face the winter with bright hearts and clear consciences yah? Of course, there'll be a grotesque loss of innocent life and post traumatic stress disorder too. But as in war, as in lists on obscure music blogs.
The other day, one of the jokey twitter accounts I follow tweeted something like: "My favourite bit in any Destroyer song is the bit where a brick hits him in the mouth three seconds after he opens it". It got retweeted a shitload of times. There are lots of people who cannot stand Dan Bejar and I can understand why. For a start his singing voice is a nasal marvel (or horror-show) that can whip itself into a one man pack of dying donkeys when he is at his most emotive. Then there is the whole emotive thing itself. Some people will say it is affected, forced, and in much of his early work it surely is, though I would argue that's part of the point with him; there's plenty of truth to be found in knowing theatricality as Jarvis Cocker will vouch. Finally, there's thing that probably pisses most people off about him - which is the thing that is hardest to defend - his tendency to reference his own work, quoting older songs inside the newer ones as if they were Shakespeare. I enjoy all of his work but I can find the more excessive self-referencing hard to swallow. Thankfully, you can experience all of the above problems with Dan Bejar and still enjoy Kaputt.
Kaputt is very easy to listen to. It is smooth 80s referencing music that you might call yacht rock if you were being a bit reductive about it, though there is more going on than simple aping of Hall and Oates or Roxy Music (one listen to 'Bay of Pigs' will convince any doubter. It's the album's closing track, a peerless one off of a song, and a high point in Bejar's catalogue). The funny paradox about Kaputt is that the cocaine sheen production seems to have allowed Bejar access to his most simple and unaffected lyrics. Instead of the usual blustering grandiosity, he serves us melancholy self-disclosure. Of course, there are still plenty enough references to his own and other's music (New Order and the Beatles to name two), but this tomfoolery knows that its place in what is ultimately a very delicate album is not centre stage. The same goes for Bejar's voice. It's toned down a bit to match the temper of the songs and it's far more warm and likable because of it. You wouldn't run away from his table in a pub, like. In fact, you'd sit down and listen to him.
I haven't even mentioned the melodies of these songs yet. They're beautiful without an exception.