Deerhunter – Halcyon Digest

Posted on September 3, 2010

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written for the Sep/Oct High Voltage Magazine

Atlanta’s finest musical quartet Deerhunter are back and their latest LP Halcyon Digest is an absolute cracker. The record’s greatest achievement is its ability to more than match the wonderful Microcastle, the previous Deerhunter album that set a supremely high standard which the band had to meet. When an album receives the kind of lavish praise Microcastle did, the pressure to follow it is intensified; but Deerhunter have exceeded expectations once again. The strength of Halcyon Digest suggests that they are not about to fade away meekly as some critics had previously suggested. It demonstrates bags of depth, with a rich tapestry of sound interwoven throughout the disc.

Some of the distortion found on previous releases may have gone; but Deerhunter’s ability to mix ambient sounds with heavy doses of pop sensibilities most certainly has not. Album opener Earthquake has a slower tempo than most Deerhunter offerings, but it seduces the listener with its delightful arpeggio, low-mixed vocal and sexual lyricism. Don’t Cry raises the intensity somewhat, with stirring music and Bradford Cox’s dark lyrics colliding to create a really absorbing track. Other highlights include first single Revival, a song which should ensure substantial airplay (on 6music at least), and the fantastic Fountain Stairs, which contains a magnificent riff from Lockett Pundt. Indeed, Pundt’s guitar skills come to the fore on many of these tracks, especially the ones which he had a hand in writing the music for. Desire Lines is one such example; musically entrancing, it contains a joyous, Marr-style riff that is a delight to hear again and again.

This could just be the best album of the year so far. With the brilliant song-writing abilities of Cox and Pundt, Deerhunter possess genuine ability. They have received some vitriolic criticism in the past from certain music blogs but the quality of the band’s output makes such hyperbolic disapproval seem absurd. It’s time the whole music world fully embraced the enormous talent that is Deerhunter.

Release Date – September 27th on 4AD

words by Rob Pollard

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Posted in: Music