Deerhunter have a repetitive listening style that drives listeners back and forth from love to hate, hit or miss. Halcyon Digest was released to a similar reception in 2010, the difference this time being a genre shift. Instead of continuing down the path of glorified indie rock without the lo-fi attitude their previous albums bolstered, Monomania went down a gritty route of hells angels and pain. They grind their teeth and address their debut album Turn It up Faggot. Some call it experimenting, others, a U-turn.
Pre-release single "Monomania" is an exciting garage rock track that made Lockett Pundt swallow a bittersweet pill of delay and reverb from his 2012 solo album Spooky Action at a Distance. It seems as if Monomania's recording sessions are akin to that of Captain Beefheart, or a verbally abusive Lou Reed in a warzone. Bradford Cox continues to turn heads with his unusual attitude which has been at the centre of attention in recent years. His character is less in your face and more in your ear on Deerhunter's sixth album. He hasn't cooled down; he's just worked out an angry way to move Deerhunter forward.
"Nitebike" shows this cool side to Cox without the backing of Pundt and co. It's the back end of Monomania that makes this a special Deerhunter record. In previous efforts, Deerhunter have succeeded based on the first three/four tracks - still delivering on the back end, but not as efficient as this. With Monomania's hectic first half, the back end makes for a great cathartic cool down. Tracks like "Sleepwalking" and "Back to the Middle" really bring Deerhunter's developed sound to light. There's an outstanding vox recording on Cox's vocal, whereas the drums and bass, although turned down a notch from Halcyon Digest, reap the rewards.
The finger-picking ingenuity works with a VU-esque structure and vocal delivery on "T.H.M", signalling a deeper meaning to garage rock as heard on Monomania. All the perfect timings and foot stomping drum beats are here. Everything exciting about Deerhunter comes together like a Neapolitan ice cream. Monomania really is Deerhunter's breakout album. Cox is breaking out of his shell vocally and Pundt musically. The 'rock' aspect of this album starts and ends on side one. "Dream Captain" finalises a run of five chaotic tracks that tear Deerhunter out of their Hipster Runoff description. "Leather Jacket II" has the invigorating guitar riffs, "Neon Junkyard" the vocal reoccurrences and 'prog'; "Pensacola" has the fun and "The Missing" contributes the single.
To sum up Deerhunter's sixth album in one word - Monomania. Each member of Deerhunter has their own thoughts, ideas and input to what would be the band's sixth album. They know how to play rock music, and they certainly know how to please and displease a dedicated audience that was once cult, but now something far more special. Deerhunter continuously impress and do it with such conviction that albums released in the same sub-genre just seem minimal. The character of Cox, the skill of Pundt - the heart of Deerhunter.