Jul 01 2009

Deerhunter: A review, of sorts

Published by at 2:04 pm under Alternative,MP3's

Over the past few months, Deerhunter have creeped their way from casual divergence to mindless obsession. Cryptograms was daunting in its expanse, building sonic landscapes from pulsing bass and shimmering guitar. And the moments it coalesced – when it dredged solid melodies from the swirling masses below – hinted at the brilliance to come with Microcastle.

Microcastle gave Cryptograms the context I needed. The My Bloody Valentine guitar textures met sweeping pop arpeggios; Deerhunter formed sculptures from the malleable skeletons of Cryptograms. And with the temporally titled Rainwater Cassette Exchange, their recently released five-song EP, Deerhunter furthers their sound with tighter, more-buoyant pop constructions.

The title track opens with a waltzing pop reminiscent of songs half-forgotten, hailing from a time long ago when chocolate milkshakes and school dances were the epitome of social grace. But the buoyant exterior belies it’s intent, as singer Bradford Cox croons through a palpable haze: “Capture my heart and destroy me/destroy my mind and my body/invade me like a disease and conquer me.” His macabre desire for an all-enveloping, entirely devastating love is echoed through time, but novel in this setting: he wants what he’s had but not as he’s had it. And reflected in the music: they’ve borrowed a tune, but made it their own.  (See: Neil Young, Joanna Newsom. Both have lots to say on this subject.) More after the jump.

The EP proceeds to flit through bizarro versions of Microcastle songs. “Circulation” mirrors “Saved by Old Times” with archaic vocal samples and a monumental climax.  “Disappearing Ink” recalls “Nothing Ever Happened” with sharp snare hits and Josh Fauver’s trademark distorted bass. “Game of Diamonds” is the one song free of context and the most exciting of the five. Disparate piano chords give way to bongo’s and slide guitar. Rapid high-hat hits pan from the left, building an intricate staccato between the channels that relays an island vibe only found in the city.  And again, Cox describes feelings better than I know how to feel them (I feel much the same way about everything F. Scot Fitzegerald has ever written): “No one ever walked with me/I got so tired on my feet/I lay drunk on the bowery/time never meant much to me.” Lay down, hang out, close your eyes and let that song sink in. It’ll make sense.

From Rainwater Cassette Exchange:

Deerhunter – Rainwater Cassette Exchange

Deerhunter – Game of Diamonds

From Microcastle:

Deerhunter – Nothing Ever happened

And while we’re on the subjects, choice quotes on timeless melodies from Joanna and Neil:

From “Sadie,” included above:

“This is an old song
These are old blues
And this is not my tune
But it’s mine to use” – Joanna Newsom

From “Borrowed Tune,” included above:

“I’m singin’ this borrowed tune
I took from the Rolling Stones
Alone in this empty room
Too wasted to write my own.” – Neil Young

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6 responses so far

6 Responses to “Deerhunter: A review, of sorts”

  1. Swoontuneon 09 Jul 2009 at 12:57 pm

    Awwww. I got excited because I read the title wrong. I thought it said Deer Tick. But it didn’t. But that’s okay because I like Deerhunter and oh my God I’m excited again!

  2. Graysonon 23 Aug 2009 at 10:48 pm

    indie music review sites and blogs give me faith in music review. Great article amazing band.

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