Originally Posted by guest
I'm glad I approached this with a fuckload of trepidation, as after 3 listens I think it is by a considerable distance their worst record. I don't understand this hyperbolic crap that cox spewed up about reich and schaeffer, as there is nothing even remotely avant-garde about this record; in fact, it's decidedly pedestrian and could easily be the work of those who are now their peers in light of how shit this record is.
cox doesn't seem to realize that, now that he's laid all his cards on the table in terms of songwriting he has to undergo a massive shift in the manner in which he creates an album, ie by actually putting some effort into crafting it as a whole. it's pretty obvious that he's controlling it all now, seeing as there aren't any extended full-band jams or anything on this record. it sounds like a batch of outtakes from the last atlas sound record, just roughed up a bit as a means of showing this contrived authenticity and grime which they used to be the fucking kingpins of, it was seemingly intrinsic.
it really says a lot that pundt's track is by some distance the best here (even though it doesn't compare to his brilliant pop songs like desire lines, strange lights, agoraphobia), and I think it proves a fear of mine which has come to the fore of late: if cox is indeed monomanic, then his obsession is quite blatantly his own self-mythologising. he has gotten into this rut where he thinks that his lyrics can speak for themselves when they can't. moreover, he needs to realise he isn't fucking bo diddley, he's just a skinny white kid who had a knack for quirky pop songs and beautiful atmospheric noise rock.
I'd be interested to hear what other people have to say though as I feel like an absolute fucking killjoy. maybe it's just because my listening proclivities have drifted well away from this 'indie' stuff but I used to be absolutely fucking obsessed with this band, I thought they were going to save not only underground rock but the form in general. here, they're just playing it so fucking safe that is beyond unbearable, at least for me.
Bands mature. From Sonic Youth and JAMC to MBV and Pavement, growing from noise into pop has been the path of pretty much all of the seminal bands in the avante-garde. Doing so gracefully, as so few have done, is the mark of the best of the best.
I have had a feeling about Deerhunter since I first heard them. Being poppies to start with than Sonic Youth, it's understandable that they'd dabble in kraut and shoe gaze and garage-jazz fusion. I honestly don't have time to really talk about the album, and I've only heard it twice. However...
It's their best album since Cryptograms, and their second best overall.
It feels like a band beginning to really bring the various parts of its personality together. I didn't expect them to end up sounding like this (I.e. ... What the Strokes would have sounded like after their first album had they any genuine garage punk in their veins at all), but I can't say I'm not blown away by the strength of the cohesion. They have put the pieces together, and it works.
But instead of sounding planned, it sounds spontaneous and fluid. The heaviest moments of Halcyon, and the gentlest moments of Cryptograms are blended into one, leaving Microcastle sounding the most out of place.
I do wish I didn't think so much of Julian Casablancas when I heard it. The vocal textures are more retro than I'd like. But that's my only complaint at this moment. At best, they remind me of Bowie on his Philadelphia soul tangent. At worst, Cox sounds fucking exactly like Casablancas. But who didn't love Coronado? As I said, had the strokes been able to live up to the hype, Room on Fire may have sounded like this. I was hoping it would, actually.
Of all the bands that I "had a feeling" about, and thought might just be the Pavements and Sebadohs of the future during the '00s, Deerhunter's been the most stable and solid, making exactly the kind of records that will probably turn them into icons before much longer.