Dan Bejar's most restrained and lovely work.
Hard on the heels of fall 2010's Archer on the Beach EP, a collaboration with ambient electronic musicians Tim Hecker and Loscil, Dan Bejar changes direction yet again with the lushly gorgeous Kaputt. With its horns, strings, tastefully deployed synthesizers and acoustic guitars, languid tempos and--most crucially--the cooing vocals of Vancouver-based jazz singer Sibel Thrasher, Kaputt is sophisticated and melodic in the style of a particular strain of British pop from the 1980s. Bejar makes the musical connection clear in the title track, with a refrain that murmurs the names of Thatcher-era UK music magazines like the names of the saints: "Sounds, Smash Hits, Melody Maker, NME/All sounds like a dream to me." Sometimes his Anglophile nostalgia is a bit obvious: Thrasher's vocal hook on "Blue Eyes" is lifted directly from Roxy Music's "Avalon," and the relatively propulsive "Savage Night at the Opera" is built on a New Order-style melodic bassline. But most of the time, the arrangements merely decorate songs that wouldn't sound out of place on any of Bejar's recent projects. Far from the strident, Scott Walker-indebted vocals of Destroyer's early releases, Bejar has become a more subtle, controlled singer with an understated cool. His songwriting is equally restrained here, his trademark elliptical lyrics couched in the most conventionally pretty tunes of his career. Even the hazy 10-minute closer "Bay of Pigs" feels focused and thoughtfully presented.
|Kaputt and Its Inspirations|