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Destroyer relives a decade of decadence

The easiest thing to say about “Kaputt,” the new album from the Vancouver band Destroyer, is that it sounds like a lost classic from the 1980s.

The easiest thing to say about “Kaputt,” the new album from the Vancouver band Destroyer, is that it sounds like a lost classic from the 1980s. But bandleader Dan Bejar says this wasn’t exactly what he was going for.

“I was listening to music that I hadn’t given thought to since I was a teenager,” he admits. “But I was also listening to a lot of ambient music and a lot of classic jazz albums, and for some reason, the middle ground, when you smoosh them together and have electronic drums in the background, conjures up the idea of the ’80s for people.”

There’s also Bejar’s smarmy Pet Shop Boy vocal and his lyrics, with references to New Order and chasing cocaine, all tied together with poetic intellect.

“I don’t really know where a lot of the lyrics come from for this one,” says Bejar. “Not that I was raging in the ’80s or anything. I think it’s more the idea of looking back at something colorful and possibly decadent and possibly very dead to you.”

If that period is something dead to Bejar, he and collaborators John Collins and David Carswell bring it to life with cool synths, frothy basses, gentle guitars and smooth saxophones.

“If people think, ‘Oh, a saxophone equals Kenny G,’ it’s not being played like that,” says Bejar. “We’re just making sounds that we like. We freaked out that it was all really good and we could carve it into something that had some momentum that still felt breezy.”

 
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