Friday, November 28, 2008

Deerhunter's "Microcastles": Music Review.

I liked "Cryptograms" PIL-type assaults better than its bliss-out comedown tracks. This new CD may, therefore, please listeners who favor the softer side, akin more to Bradford Cox's solo project Atlas Sound. Since I love shoegazing, "Microcastles" satisfied me especially in its later tracks on disc one. These built up to thunderous feedback, and like tracks 3 and 5 on the first disc, showed a fuller band sound that appealed more to me than the many songs that, stripped-down and simpler, seemed more like home demos recorded by Cox himself.

The strongest tunes, as on the previous CD, remain those with a full-on wave of mutilation. They can begin softly, tentatively, before cresting, nearly without you realizing it, into giant splashes of sonic boom. This characteristic of Deerhunter's delivery, to me, shows the talent that they're capable of as a forceful unit, instead of anyone expecting only a Cox-led group of back-up players using the older band's name.

My son heard Jesus & Mary Chain here and there; I heard Grandaddy! The range of influences distorted and sensitive, beyond a less overdriven My Bloody Valentine, does account for the intelligence of the songwriter and his bandmates. The experimental confidence on "Cryptograms" isn't as extended as I'd expected on "Microcastle." It's there, but it ebbs and flows. The record's tracking may account for lulls, especially midway, but these must be intentional to offset the amplified tracks; this same distribution of tone and pace for structure can be heard on "Cryptograms."

There's not many bands an older fan (me) and a younger (my son) can share, and this breadth of vision that Deerhunter's been entering holds promise for their career as a band, rather than a more famous musician and his crew. This cohesiveness, heard best in the elaborate, fully instrumental songs, indicates their potential at its best. I look forward to more songs with this louder, faster, thicker attitude. If Atlas Sound can provide Cox an outlet for his delicacy, Deerhunter to me should provoke him towards more aggressive, denser, and more paranoid (but in a good way!) layers of drone and doom.

(Posted to Amazon US today.)

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