Album: Halcyon Digest – Deerhunter
Given their previous associations with so-called ‘garage rock’, this new offering from Deerhunter comes as a bit of surprise. Gone are the discordant soundscapes and experimental noise sessions that denote their previous albums. Their fourth offering has an ambient, dreamy quality to it that make it softer and possibly somewhat more palatable. This is not to say however, that the band have lost any of the original sound that sets them apart.
What this change shows is an evolution into what can only be described as greener pastures. There is a joyful feel here as Bradford Cox’s vocals have matured from the breathy, and at times almost monotone style embraced on Microcastle – the band’s previous LP – into a self assured melodic lilt which gives this album its magic.
‘Revival’ and ‘Helicopter’ are two good places to start. The former includes a catchy set of “aahs” that call to mind Grizzly Bear, which is no bad thing, whilst the latter has a melancholic drifting riff that couples wonderfully with its sombre lyrics.
The highlight has to be the album’s opening track ‘Earthquake’. The band layer a multitude of echoing and ambient sounds, evoking the dazed atmosphere Deerhunter so often place us in. Yet instead of the usual discords and reverb, the song moves with a soft ease not present in the band’s previously darker sound.
The one criticism of this album may be that for die-hard fans of a more experimental rock sound, this album lacks the grit and edge of its predecessors. In fact, it could even be a step toward a more accessible style which some may find displeasing. However, if you’re able to leave your expectations at the door, you may be pleasantly surprised.