What happened to disco? Did it die on a baseball diamond in 1979 at Comiskey Pa…excuse me, U.S. Cellular Field? Did everyone have a collective realization that it’s really lame? Does anyone miss it?
Dan Bejar, front man of Destroyer (also, key member of the New Pornographers), still cares about disco. His new album, Kaputt, sounds like something that would make your mom dance embarrassingly in front of all your friends. What’s strange: Kaputt is the first time Destroyer seems to be trying out disco. What’s stranger: it works. It works really well.
That’s because Kaputt isn’t straight up disco. John Travolta wouldn’t listen to Kaputt if he wanted to point up in the air and swivel his hips; no, Travolta would listen to this record if he wanted to relax after reading that recent New Yorker article detailing how crazy Scientology is (two John Travolta jokes for the price of one!). Instead, the record is a hybrid between disco and indie rock. An unlikely pair, but don’t you want to hear it just because it sounds weird?
When you listen you’ll hear: breathy vocals, soft synthesizers, gentle trumpets and smooth saxophones. The rhythms would be better for dancing if someone cranked up the BPMs. If you like The Kings of Convenience or The Whitest Boy Alive (same thing really), you’re probably going to like Destroyer. Destroyer uses swirling ambiance (something NOT typical to Disco) to create a reflective, quiet mood. Take a look at a song like “Downtown”: clean guitar, a chugging bass line, a saxophone coming in and out, and a duet between a soft spoken male and a powerfully loud sounding female. Yeah, that’s kinda disco. But, since its music, my words can’t do it justice. In execution, Destroyer has made an album that sounds like something not many people in indie rock are trying right now: quiet music lame dad could like just as much as super cool hipsters could too.
WPGU Music Staff Rating: W-P-G
Key Tracks: “Downtown”, “Chinatown” and “Bay of Pigs”.
Recommended if you like: The New Pornographers, Swan Lake & Sunset Rubdown.
W = Poor
W-P = Fair
W-P-G = Great
W-P-G-U = An instant classic!