Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Deerhunter - Halycon Digest

Two years ago, I was a little menacing with my musical opinions. I hardly listened to Deerhunter, but with just 10 - 15 minutes of listening, i decided they were a bad band, wit bad music. I was wrong.. So now I'm annoyed with myself for not giving them a chance two years ago. In recent times i have became a major Deerhunter fan, attending concerts and purchasing records. You could say that they're one of my favorite bands in this age. 

So this is the 4th/5th Deerhunter album, depending on what you class Weird Era Cont as. It features the usual Deerhunter soaring guitar riffs and atmospheric, Shoegaze like sounds created with the mass looping and exquisite textures of sound. The opening track sets the standard due to the final 2 minutes of beautiful noise.

This is a very strong album, each track has it's own separate style, both musically and lyrically. Something that you can really notice is the drumming. In places, it's very basic and empty, however, it's used to keep the songs moving. Some of the longer tracks like Desire Lines & He Would Have Laughed make your body move due to the basic but consistent drum beat. It's something that Deerhunter do perfectly, both in the studio and live. 

Revival is a fast paced, short Indie Pop song, with strong lyrics and a steady beat. The distorted guitar works like a charm on this song, enhancing Deerhunter's atmospherical sound. It leads in to the quiet, melancholy Sailing, which gives the listener a chance to let the imagination run wild, i personally picture a warm, sunny day, sun bathing on a boat. 

Deerhunter have a usual tendency to bring Ambient influences in their releases, those influences don't seem to show up on Halycon Digest. They have a bigger influence from Rock music in general here. It's a bigger, better sound than 2008's Microcastle. Desire Lines is painfully beautiful. The heavy opening guitar is very simple, yet effective. The ever increasing loop pedal usage and essential bass play a key role in Bradford Cox's lyrics, which don't seem to be noticed as much due to the sheer brilliance of the music. It does end in a fade out, i can forgive them on this occasion as it's very difficult to end a song like this, so a fade out does work here.

It's not like this album has bad tracks, the lyrics are very good in places, like with Basement Scene, which has better lyrics than just about every other track. This track doesn't raise the volume levels, but then again, you do get sick of overly produced loud noisy tracks. So every so often, it's nice to hear a quieter, textured guitar track like Basement Scene and Helicopter, which is just as lyrical. Helicopter was one of the first songs released by the band, also being one of the few played live years in advance prior. It has a very fresh sound, with a very noisy finish.

For me, the key track and ultimate finale is He Would Have Laughed, one of Deerhunter's best songs in my opinion, written in memory of Jay Reatard, who died during the recording of Halycon Digest. It has that achingly energetic drum beat which keeps the song in motion. The soaring guitar twinges sound like chimes swaying in the warm wind. It really is a phenomenal track which does eclipse around the 4 minute mark, where the the drums, vocals and bass fade out, to begin the second part of the song, with improved lyrics, more delay and a bigger emphasis on sound textures. It's the right way to end the album, just cutting off at the end.

Personally, this is one of my favourite albums of 2010. The sheer energy and emotion put into creating this textured noisy album just amazes me.Every note is placed in the correct position. Bradford Cox's vocals are solid, they're understandable in every song, very clearly recorded, making myself and 4AD proud.


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