Thursday, 5 April 2012

Deerhunter - Turn It Up Faggot


Deerhunter released their debut album in 2005, dividing opinions between the band members themselves and the critics. Its completely dedicated to deceased bassist Justin Bosworth, who died in 2004. This sound is utterly raw and completely different to the later Deerhunter albums, but it holds the key to their vague sound and melodic structures. 'N.Animals' has all the instruments to be a 70's punk rock track, but has that stable drumming which is characteristic in Deerhunters work. It's raw and gritty but has an 'indie' edge which they would later take up with ease. It's a thunderous opener and sits itself among the punk bands of the 70's. High pitched distortion and loud drumming create a blend of noise and experimental music, with the bass riff which sticks out to me as the key instrument for structure.

'Adorno' has a repetitive structure and has the typical bass/drum structure which Deerhunter have used throughout their career. The left sided percussion is outstanding, as is the Josef K-esque guitar work which has menacing power. Vocal screaming closes the track which is featured on both sides of the speaker. 'Tech School'  is loud and repetitive. Its heavy on the ear and has a keyboard section bringing back those Iggy Pop days. This is punk music, don't confuse punk with post-punk, cause this certainly isn't post-punk or a member of the 'revival' genre. It's as punk as Iceage's latest release. Vocal screeches end Tech School with a determined amount of distortion which they clearly wanted. The lyrics are not clear but you can make out certain words towards the end of some tracks during the screaming periods. I think of Crystal Castles when listening to the vocals. 'Ponds' has more of a melodic structure with memories of The Strokes and Franz Ferdinand rushing back to me.

'Language/Violence' carried on the fast paced drumming and the guitar noise. This track doesn't do much for me, but I can hears some brilliant vocal effects towards the end of the track. The drumming is very progressive and has many variations. The guitar ends the track and begins the following track 'Oceans'. This is probably my favourite from Turn It Up Faggot. With the reversed reverb applied to the guitar and the features which sum up the Deerhunter of today, Oceans has a striking buildup and a thunderous kick before the beat increases and the guitars become vigorous. It's a great track with plenty of repetition and guitar twinges and the early drones of shoegaze.

Unsurprisingly, 'Basement' has an electronic opening which increases with bass and then the raw drumming. Bradford gives a clear vocal which is surprising, but at the same time slightly confusing as the distortion has been applied to his voice with clear intention of creating the 'noise' sound some bands seek for. Deerhunter has since changed and I'm sure they look back, specifically at this track and hear the basics of their future work and the bits they would rather throw away, which they did successfully, such as the unnecessary distortion in places.

'Young Layer' has brilliant guitar work and the drumming surpasses my expectations for a debut album. Its loud and energetic, with a clear cut powerful drum sound. I love the rawness of this record and Young Layer is one of the tracks I can appreciate as a noise rock fan. It's not too aggressive, but has all the basics of a perfect noise track with melody and bass riffs with variations. It plays into 'Death Drag', the longest track on the album. It quickly becomes pacy with drumming passion and guitar noise parallel to the vocal distortion which sounds the same creating this specific unitary, monotonous sound. This final track is loud and has all the ingredients for a Jesus & Mary Chain / Wire mash-up with Iggy Pop distortion and Sex Pistols moods. It's thunderous and the final two minutes are the best on the album by far. The drumming is consistent and the noise raises to create the climax. The climax continues with distortion everywhere ad the vocals continue on both speakers with layers and repetition adding to the distorted sound. The sound is still increasing and the bass is now in full focus before a slight kick and then it's over.. The reverb can be heard as can studio talk of some sort which ends with Bradford Cox saying "Fuck you!"

The themes are in place, the music speaks for itself and Bradford's lyrics are highly courageous and depressing at the same time. The band dealt with the loss of a member and the lyrics reflect this, as do Bradford's personal introspective thoughts on life itself as with the track Adorno where he sings, "I lived twice after my suicide. In the future or the past, I could not decide." The whole album is filled with these lyrics, and it's a shame that the noise overpowers the clear vocals, because these lyrics hit the mark. Deerhunter learnt from their mistakes, turned the distortion into reverb and used clear vocals and swooshing guitars to create the dream-pop/alternative sound which they standby today.
~Eddie
 
7.8

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