Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest

Since 2007’s abrasive Cryptograms, Deerhunter have spent their time evolving from a noise band with severely obscured melodies into a pop-rock band with the occasional noise fetish. 2008’s brilliant Microcastle was a huge breakthrough for the band, capitolizing not on the promise of its predecessor, but on that of the pop-oriented Flourescent Grey EP, which was recorded as Cryptograms was being mixed and readied for release. Over this time Deerhunter leading man Bradford Cox, through both his primary band and the work of his solo project, Atlas Sound, transformed from a divisive online antagonist into one of indie-rock’s most fascinating figures. His obvious appreciation for the history of popular music, sincere love for creating and sharing his deeply affecting songs, and his very public maturation have positioned him as an artist with whom fans can identify with easily. Never has this been as apparent on Deerhunter’s latest, Halcyon Digest – a record that is at once the band’s most stripped-down, diverse, nostalgic, and personal.

There are a lot of nice things that I could say about the new record, but other sites have been eloquently spewing praise over Halcyon Digest for the past 2 or 3 weeks. I don’t have anything particularly unique to add to the discussion that hasn’t been better put in other places, so I’ll keep this brief. “Helicopter”, which had a video a few weeks back and has attracted a handful of remixes lately, is perhaps the record’s best song, but arguments can be made for a batch of the others as well. “Fountain Stairs” and especially the bristling “Coronado” feature shredding horn sections, the gorgeous guitar work on Lockett Pundt’s “Desire Lines” locks into a mesmerizing groove, and there are strong hints of 50s/ & 60s pop surfacing on “Revival” and “Basement Scene”. Overall, there’s not a weak moment – even the weary, sparse “Sailing” has melodies that stick. As No Age also did last week with Everything In Between, Deerhunter have made an album that shows one of indie-rock’s most inventive, exciting young bands growing up and producing a career high point. Halcyon Digest is another of 2010’s very best.

MP3 :: Revival

MP3 :: Helicopter (Star Slinger remix)

MP3 :: Helicopter (Diplo + Lunice remix)

(original “Helicopter” from Halcyon Digest. Buy here)


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