Shape-shifting Canadian pop craftsman Daniel Bejar's ninth studio album under the Destroyer moniker added a whole lot of Bryan Ferry to a pot already boiling over with copious amounts of Bowie, Dylan, and T. Rex. Bejar's predilection for pairing Oscar Wilde-inspired, semi-apocalyptic witticisms with glam-kissed, minor-seventh retro pop remained intact, but where previous outings like This Night and Streethawk: A Seduction mined the '70s for inspiration, 2011's Kaputt utilizes '80s sophisti-pop, New Romantic, Northern soul, and straight-up adult contemporary to deliver a flawed but fascinating record. Like Goldfrapp's divisive, 2010 retro dance-pop tribute Head First, Kaputt is fully committed to its cause, wrapping everything up in a pristine, immaculately produced biosphere that's filled to the brim with twinkling synths, soft rock drums, and enough wailing trumpets and saxophones to out-mellow Kenny G, David Sanborn, and Dave Koz combined. Ever the well-read, secretly pleased malcontent ("I write poetry for myself"), Bejar sounds more comfortable in this new disguise than he does on his more troubadour-oriented projects, as if producing the soundtrack for a discotheque with a capacity of one was his intention all along. His epic 11-minute, 2009 single "Bay of Pigs," which he described at the time as "ambient disco," could hardly serve as a more fitting conclusion to Kaputt, as it more than lives up to its creator's boast. "Suicide Demo for Kara Walker," "Song for America," "Chinatown," all of which skillfully tread water between the urbane intellectualism of Donald Fagan or Momus and the quiet, technical nihilism of Talk Talk, differ very little from the remaining six cuts, which may cause fans of his more adventurous work some fits, but there's no denying their icy, coke-fueled 2:00 A.M. elegance. ~ James Christopher Monger
Rolling Stone (p.69) - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "Bejar's lyrics are sad-poet spirals, glancing off politics, sex, drugs and music, and packed with perfect New Wave laments..."
Rolling Stone (p.74) - Ranked #42 in Rolling Stone's '50 Best Albums Of 2011' -- "Long-running indie sage Dan Bejar makes his grand 1980s yacht-rock statement."
Spin (p.70) - "Bejar writes dreamy tone poems, obsessively repeating phrases until they become unlikely mantras."
Entertainment Weekly (p.71) - "[I]ts shimmering synths and moody soft rock would be the perfect soundtrack to a romantic urban noir." -- Grade: A-
Alternative Press (p.87) - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "Frontman Dan Bejar has never hesitated to wink at his listeners lyrically, but KAPUTT expresses equal slyness via gratuitous saxophone and trumpet solos."
CMJ - "[R]ichly complex....The kitsch in the egg-shaker beats, each smooth-jazz horn flourish -- it's all pageantry."
Billboard (p.28) - "KAPUTT continues Bejar's winning streak and is an early contender for indie-rock album of the year."
Paste (magazine) - "These songs find inspiration in a musical moment decades in the past, when noir lite jazz offered the world processed drums, sculpted synths, fretless bass, gauche backing vocals, and smooth sax, all set to languid tempos and deceptively laidback songwriting."
Uncut (magazine) (p.32) - Ranked #31 in Uncut's '50 Best Albums Of 2011' -- "[With] highly manicured homages to the brainier end of '80s New Pop: Scritti, Talk Talk, Prefab Sprout et al."