With ‘Kapputt’, Dan Bejar’s Destroyer project grew wings and flapped its way to some balmy cove to catch the last rays of another day in paradise. His current Balearic-sophistipop incarnation has lazily followed the swallows and lolloped of to the mainland with this sumptuous five track EP that’s as melodious as its predecessor but, semi-sadly, not as memorable, not quite as fulfilling, nor as enriching.
Perhaps this kind of direct record-to-record comparison doesn’t do us any favours as listeners (especially since the songs weren’t written by Bejar himself but Spanish songwriter Antonio Luque) but as ‘Five Spanish Songs’ is cut from very similar cloth as ‘Kaputt’ - murmured melodies wink at familiarity and classicism before louchely shrugging them off - it’s hard not to do it.
The Iberian influence suggested by the title manifests itself in one major way: Bejar sings in Spanish. Rather than coming across as transatlantic cultural appropriation - the new masters of the new world looking back longingly at their initiators - the EP hums with longing for an imagined peninsula; rocky vistas bleeding into pristine beaches and Moorish architectural elegance all of which are reflected in the lush arrangements we’ve come to know from Bejar’s; see the winding lead of ‘Maria De Las Nieves’ or the hushed chemtrails of wispy, whispering guitar on ‘Bye Bye’ or the glammy stomp of ‘El Rito’. The language barrier isn’t a huge issue - indeed, not possessing the language at hand negates the cod-analysis we subject lyrics sung in our mother tongue to - but part of Kapputt’s charms lie in his endearingly-awkward-trying-to-stuff-syllables-into-spaces-they-won’t-really-fit-in lines. Still, it sounds gorgeous and sometimes it’s great to let timbre wash over you, to embrace sound as sound.
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He still has plenty to say and even more fantastical ways to say it.
Crisper, more experimental.
It’s novelistic. It’s smart. Of course it is, it’s a Destroyer album.
Dan Bejar returns later this year with new album, ‘Poison Season’ - and once again, Destroyer are trying something new.