Destroyer despite its metal-sounding name has been unleashing some of the best and brightest chamber pop since its formation in 1995. Frontman and chief songwriter Dan Bejar has taken time out since to contribute to supergroups The New Pornographers and Swan Lake, but has steadily streamed new tunes through Destroyer, including 2008s acclaimed Trouble in Dreams.
The follow-up, Kaputt, is a stark departure from the rambling folk-pop tunes that characterized that effort, but the result is well-done, dramatic and admirably fresh.
Like mall music bleeding into some hipsters iPod as hes headed toward American Apparel, Kaputt manages to feel both dated and hip at the same time no easy feat. Its as if Kenny G got a taste for Neon Indian, ate a mushroom and got down the sort of elevator music Id expect at Urban Outfitters headquarters.
The smooth and airy Chinatown is your proper introduction to what Im going to go ahead and coin mallwave. The sensuous jazz melody is great, but the New Age saxophone blasts toward the end really impart that touch of class. Blue Eyes is a suitable counterpart with a slightly funkier stamp to it, while the later pairing of Downtown and Song for America rekindle a love for early 80s disco ballads through a drug-adled haze.
The albums two longest efforts Suicide Demo for Kara Walker and the closer Bay of Pigs (Detail) both allow ample room to really explore the sound and dive in the deepest, most noticeably in the starry, swear-laden bridges of Bay.
Its the boiling, romantic Savage Night at the Opera that really encapsulates the vibe best, devoting itself fully to decades before while pushing past the one in which we currently reside.
If nothing else, its worth a listen for being entirely different, but its truly good enough to move beyond the kitsch factor. If only all shopping centers played music this great. Joshua Boydston