QC ALBUM REVIEW: DEERHUNTER

by kevin diamond

If you recall (and I certainly hope you’ve been taking notes on all this) waaaay back in the dark ages of early August, I reported on the King Khan/Deerhunter/Black Kids show at McCarren Pool. I call these the dark ages because, as you can see from the following quote:

“I’ve been a fence-dweller when it comes to Deerhunter, never sure how much I dug it. Perhaps it was the glorious weather, the uninhibited fun of King Khan, and the carnival atmosphere of the day, but I dug Deerhunters’ set more than I expected to.”

My eyes had yet to be opened fully to the wonder that is Deerhunter. Looking back on it now, it’s hard to understand how I could have been so blind. But I have seen the light, and the light is their fantastic new album Microcastle, which has been released digitally via iTunes in advance of it’s fall street date.

NOTHING EVER HAPPENED BY DEERHUNTER:

It seems we all have stories like this: bands that are undeniably great, but somehow, due perhaps to a wrong place/wrong time/wrong attitude situation, their greatness eludes us. I think back to my first encounter with a little band called The Pixies. I’d been convinced by a friend that this band would change my life. I was a teenager and, though I was certainly an outcast, I was a relatively well-adjusted young man. Played the disc a handful of times, couldn’t get into it. So much yelling and screaming, it just didn’t take. Flash foreward a few summers: I’ve got a shitty job at a beach concession stand, my best friend has just fucked me over for a girl. Suddenly I’m angry, looking for some music to relate to. On a whim, I throw Surfa Rosa on. Holy Shit! I get it! This band is IT.

Perhaps this story is different, as I’m still so-so on Cryptograms. The self-proclaimed “Ambient Punk” sound that fills that album is dense and forbodding, and I still have a tough time playing it start to finish. But I have no such qualms with Microcastles, a fantastic blend of Doo Wop and 50′s pop pushed through a cheeseclothe filter of drone and reverb. At times, the band seems as though they’ve been dropped into the middle of a cave; then, almost as suddenly, beat and bassline kick in, and they’re in your face, clean as a whistle: a standard rock song, from the band you’d least expect it from. The album is nothing but classics, not a clunker in the bunch. And when they do take two minutes to space out and drone, it feels warrented, like they’ve earned it.

It’ll be interesting to see the response this gets from die-hard Deerhunter fands. I can’t imagine this is the album they expected, but it’s so good, so tightly produced, so replayable, that any griping is going to come of sounding forced. My advice, to those who may feel inclined, by pretension or fear of losing cred, to dismiss it: shut your trap, drop the schtick, and enjoy the damn music. I will be.

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