Dan Bejar is comfortable in all shapes and sizes. He melds into the indie Americana of New Pornographers, melts into the psychedelia of Swan Lake, and shifts with chameleonic elasticity in his own skin as Destroyer.
With Kaputt, the ninth Destroyer release, Bejar embraces ‘80s and ‘90s with neon aplomb. “Blue Eyes” begs for Michelle Branch/ Carlos Santana accompaniment, “Savage Night at the Opera” merges linear guitar and kaleidoscope synths, and the title track blushes from alterna-isolation and the distant yowl of a lone sax player. Through it all, the sly Bejar engages “a permanent figure of jacked up sorrow,” realizes that “it’s not a war till someone loses an eye,” and revels in “chasing cocaine through the back rooms of the world all night.” It’s these keen and candid lyrical twists and turns that save Kaputt when it drifts into kitsch, saving it from frothing over the edges.
Destroyer is a strange animal, but it allows Dan Bejar to shine with an odd balance of beauty and creepiness. Kaputt is fitting accompaniment for the fringe, but even the most conservative folks like dance with the devil at times.
Kaputt is out now on Merge Records.