that kind of sax sound and squeaky background singer routine can stay where it belongs, on Swing Out Sister, or Sting or Brother Beyond records
If you’re looking for dreamy record that also sounds a little different to what’s about, then I’d suggest you give Kaputt a spin. But be warned, despite some really nice passages this record can leave you feeling a bit, well, let down.
A good word that describes Kaputt is woozy: the album is masterful in conjuring up that feeling you get when you’re groggy and hazily remembering (and regretting) events after a night out. It’s also a bit of a soul-boy record: the glossy nature of the production and the arrangements remind me of Colourfield, or the Blow Monkeys, or some other late 80’s soul take off. This I can take or leave. It can grate too, and there are some squirm-filled moments - for one that kind of sax sound and squeaky background singer routine can stay where it belongs, on Swing Out Sister, or Sting or Brother Beyond records. But what is most interesting, and frustrating is that Kaputt seems to be a record that documents some traumatic or intensely personal set of events. I’m frustrated because I wish that Destroyer had used this melancholy side as a counter-balance to the sweet soul-pop, as a driving force for the record, as the sand in the Vaseline. I wish they’d delineated more clearly some of the ideas and images thrown up in Poor in Love, Chinatown or Suicide Demo for Karen Walker.
The whole thing is also a bit one paced – it jogs by all too easily, and bythe middle of the record, you are wondering whether the whole set will continue in this vein. Sadly it does: despite the excellent Downtown, things just become a blur, and although it’s perfectly easy to tap your toe to the LP can regress into being a record suited for dinner parties, a perfectly pleasant background noise. And there aren’t enough songs or melodies to compensate: Savage Night at the Opera is a pretty decent New Order take-off, and the stealthy, steamy Suicide Demo for Karen Walker is great too. But not enough.
You have to wait for the last track, Bay of Pigs to really show what this record is capable of. It’s an immense trawl, a monologue, a confession or an almighty whinge, (take your pick). Most importantly it shows - just by injecting a change of pace and tone, and anger- what wonders can be made with this kind of sound. It’s almost Blue Nile stuff. And that’s a shame: because I feel this could have been a really, really interesting and powerful release.