Happy Valentine’s Day!
I have, as of last week, managed to go my entire life without hearing a single Destroyer album.
I don’t know why that is, really; I have heard the guy (Dan Bejar) is really talented, and the lazy comparisons between Bowie and Robyn Hitchcock should have had me drooling in anticipation. Maybe the reason is as simple as this: I never really cottoned to his day-job band, The New Pornographers. That band had (and continues to have) loads of praise heaped upon them all the time, and when I actually sat down and listened to them I was all sorts of under whelmed. They were good, yes, catchy, yes, talented, sure. But original? I didn’t think so. Adding to my indifference was the fact that every band to come out of The Great White North at that time was getting far too much attention than they actually deserved (Arcade Fire, anyone?”) and I guess I sort of subconsciously boycotted anyone who fit the description of “alternative Canadian rock band”.
Fast forward to now.
I have purchased ‘Kaputt’, the 2011 Destroyer release, and it is great. I can’t seem to get the damn thing out of my cd player and the rest of the cd’s in the queue are getting a tad jealous. I don’t get the Bowie comparison, though. Bejar’s voice sounds like a cross between Robyn Hitchcock and Neil Tennant of the Pet Shop Boys. The music, on this album at least and to my ears, sounds like a cross between China Crisis, Prefab Sprout and the already mentioned PSB’s. Yes, as has been mentioned in countless reviews and end of year “best of” lists there is a hint of Goucho-era Steely Dan. Now, if you’re a steely Dan fan that would be no bad thing; if you’re not a fan don’t let that comparison influence you too much. It’s more Avalon than Goucho, more Working With Fire And Steel than Pretzel Logic and more Steve McQueen than Aja.
Kaputt isn’t an album that will change your life. It’s simply a great late night album that may or may not be your gateway drug to the rest of Destroyer’s catalog.