Sammy the Seal

“Four hundred more years of this shit”

In vinyl on Sunday, 26 June, 2011 at 18:09

Song: Suicide Demo for Kara Walker
Artist: Destroyer
Album: Kaputt

Okay, this feels more like a song for a laaaaazy Sunday like today. Actually, the whole album has the feel of a lonely night out, as well as a 70s/early 80s jazzy, soft rock feel. The sound of the album will sound familiar as such, for example the sax, female vocals, and overall instrumentation. If that description turns you off– I admit I cringed slightly when first hearing the soundscapes– be patient and you will be rewarded. (In fact, part of me still wonders how I’ve taken such a shine to this album, when we’ve been conditioned to dismiss sounds like this as soulless piffle.)

This song well represents that ostensibly cheesy sound, the flute at 2:00 being a prime example. It does sound kinda cheesy, but it works too. As well, the bursts of female vocals often scream “70s!” to me, but as anachronistic as they sound, they have a redemptive feel or reprieve when they appear, tempering the lonesome, though not necessarily depressing, atmosphere which I feel the “lite” sound creates, though certainly Dan Bejar’s singing sounds a bit subdued, maybe even resigned, as well. I don’t hide my aversion for long songs, though I have always avowed that if the songs work, they work, and this 8+ minute track caps off beautifully the marvelous first half (the album is only nine tracks).

I’ve listened to it enough the last couple of weeks that I thought of doing a song a day and putting up the album within a week, except I bought too much other music. It’s most definitely not a knock-your-socks-off record, so file under subtle and slow-burn. It’s still day out, but I think I’m gonna go take a walk with this album.

(I haven’t parsed the meaning too intently yet, but this song is allegedly about the history of U.S. race relations, if you care to study it. I was wondering why the word “negress” was in there. Lyrics contributed by Kara Walker, a black visual artist, so yes, she’s a real person. Strange to hear a white Canadian man sing about this, I’m curious to examine it further.)

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