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The saxophones, flutes and conga drums that permeate Dan Bejar’s ninth album as Destroyer will likely divide fans who have painted the Vancouver songwriter into an experimental rock corner. But those who refuse to embrace the sophisticated sounds of the 80s will miss out Kaputt is Bejar’s best album to date.
Sanding down the rough edges of his vocals, he punctuates his observations, witticisms and pop culture references with female backing vocals that add to the disc’s post-disco feel. And while it’s sometimes difficult to decipher Bejar’s intentions, you get no sense that the creation of this velvety soundscape was an exercise in irony. Rather, it’s as if he’d decided to prove that the records of his youth are great because of, not in spite of, their immaculate production and fretless bass lines.
While Bejar’s arrangement decisions challenge popular notions of what delineates good and bad music, shaking off preconceptions in order to immerse yourself in Kaputt’s nighttime world is worth the effort.
Top track: Chinatown
Destroyer play Lee’s Palace on March 31.