In the past Destroyer has been aggressive, but this album is calmer and addresses an issue the band rarely has: love. If Streethawk: A Seduction was the boastful facade used to impress another person, Kaputt is the naked emotions of the aftermath.
Daniel Bejar and Sibel Thrasher sing in unison, “I can’t walk away. You can’t walk away,” on “Chinatown.” It’s a tender, but tense moment that blooms into a budding love in “Blue Eyes” where Bejar becomes infatuated with this “permanent figure of jacked up sorrow” and confesses “I want you to love me.”
Even at its most upbeat, Kaputt’s 80s noir style feels sombre and it’s clear from the beginning this story is destined to a tragedy. As soon as Bejar realizes he’s been “poor in love” and that chasing cocaine and women isn’t fulfilling, she’s gone. “I was just getting used to having you around,” they sing on “Downtown.”
The main narrative is occasionally interrupted by a couple of spectacular songs. “Suicide Demo for Kara Walker” is a chilling death note that begins personal and builds in to a rant on American culture. “Bay of Pigs” begins with a disclaimer — “Listen, I’ve been drinking” — before Bejar lets loose for the remaining nine and a half epic minutes.
The hype is palpable, but it’s deserved. Kaputt’s themes and music are easier to untangle than previous Destroyer albums making the impact more immediate and longer lasting.
Destroyer will play with The War on Drugs on April 7 at the Cat’s Cradle. Tickets are $13 in advance and $15 day of the show.