Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Saturday, April 21, 2007 
 "I woke in the middle of the night / I called out / I called your name / patiently, patiently..." so begins the opening, slow-burning monster that is the title track. Echoing Stereolab, Spacemen 3 and Animal Collective, particularly with their non-alienating and overt use of effects, and with garage-rock guitars, wired yet suggestive vocals, Deerhunter return to form with this killer batch of five tracks. Made while working on their alternately harrowing and euphoric Cryptograms (Kranky, 2007) album, this EP works as a sort of tighter, less-edgy sampler, pushing variously their shoegazing (Like New) vibe, their Krautrock (Wash Off) penchant and their tendency for slow-building restrained melody (Fluorescent Grey). Apparently ferocious live, Deerhunter have an authenticity that is lacking in most bands that choose to pick up guitars and make noise in a way that suggests anything pre-Velvet Underground and Nico doesn't bare investigation. Where they excel is in making atmosphere and not letting it linger. Every song is pursued and expanded with a surety that holds evidence of their chequered history; innumerable line-up changes, the death of their bassist in a skateboarding accident, label changes, singer Bradford Cox's daily panic attacks, bankruptcy. One look at their gaunt faces and you can see they're closer to Fugazi than BRMC though can rock out as loud as both. Most fans would likely say go straight to Cryptograms, but this EP stands strongly by itself, the sense of catharsis never being a chore or alienating, their keen sense of melody and dynamics and love of the robotic to the fore. Cox's lyrics tie in so well with the music - white hot and visceral - that it sets them further apart again from the legion of bands intent on taking you on a journey through their searing, determined minds. It's a triumph, one that's brief in length, but not scope.

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