Deerhunter Microcastle
    • FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2008

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    It can not be denied. The inspirational pull of one Bradford Cox is a rather mighty one. The lanky, Atlanta based musician has spent the better part of the last two years invigorating the passion and enthusiasm of certain ranks of indie music fans; quite a feat considering such a base is often accused of being indifferent, uninspired, and frankly a bit uppity. So how's he done it? One such theory, through no fault of his own, is the sympathetic tendencies of those devoted to him. He's a typecast, outcast; openly gay, afflicted with Marfan syndrome, and most importantly, the curator of bedroom noise, with bedroom lyrics, that generally tell the kind of stories that make it tough to leave the bedroom. There's just always going to be a market for that kind of stuff.

    But Cox is no recluse, and the music he and his band Deerhunter churn out shouldn't be dismissed as nothing more than the cure for what ails indie's mope and dope set. Rather, their recorded tendencies (Cryptograms and the Fluorescent Grey EP) to wash all the trial and tribulation up in impressive pillows of noise have many declaring them the second coming of Sonic Youth. So are they? Deerhunter's newest release Microcastle (Kranky) suggests...maybe?

    Yes, like Sonic Youth, Deerhunter leans hard on mellow dramatic guitar drones and obscure rock minimalism. Tracks like "Little Kids" and "Green Jacket" are wispy numbers; the kind of ambience that allows the listener to float aimlessly around the sonic ether...with nice effects. But Deerhunter prove they're at their best on Microcastle when they sprinkle their obsession with noise into a more straight and narrow approach. Opener "Agoraphobia" is a crystal clear pop bop; a coherent piece of rock that has the band sounding oh so ripe. As is "Never Stops". Don't worry...The slightly insecure lyrics are still here ("I had dreams that frightened me awake/I happened to escape/But my escape would never come") to take solace in (if you're into that kind of thing). But Deerhunter confidently hit their stride on tracks like these, culminating in the supreme blend of riff and structure that is "Nothing Ever Happened". - david pitz

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