Friday, 24 October 2008

Deerhunter – Microcastle

Microcastle is album number three from Atlanta’s Deerhunter the self-titled debut (aka Turn It Up Fagot) was a noisy and raw punk racket, this was followed by Cryptograms, which in my eyes was one of the best albums of last year.

Cryptograms, was an album of two halves. Side one being an ambient punk hybrid and the flip being a more song based shoegazer. Then they went and dropped the Florescent Grey EP, which continued the more tuneful theme and really tightened up the song writing. This brings me to Microcastle, which continues this idea of bringing songs into the ambient punk template.

Deerhunter have got a bit more of a spring in their step here compared to the sweeping melancholic fuzzy swamp punk soundscape of Cryptograms. Microcastle still has moments of mellow gold but for the most part they have made a more focused snappier affair with a slight pop edge.

The pop comes in the form of either Brain Eno ‘Here Come The Warm Jets’ era influenced nuggets or 50’s / 60’s doo-whop like Martha & The Vandellas. A garage/punk vibe can also be heard that brings the raw edge of people like Half-Pint And The Fifths and other Atlanta natives The Black Lips, one of which feature on the album. This is all filtered through a kind of dreamy shoegaze machine into a My Bloody Valentine or Cocteau Twins shape before the final stage comes in the form of a Krautrock infused motorik beat of the likes of Faust or Can. It also sounds a bit more like the Atlas Sound side project than previous Deerhunter stuff.

Deerhunter take all these influences and make them their own. The tightness of the group is outstanding the drums and bass really drive everything forward, while the vocals and guitar make for some sweet music for daydreams. The balance of mellow and driving noise is something of beauty on Microcastle.

Microcastle has a beautiful, bright, warm, organic and crisp sound that is perfect for the autumn / winter you can imagain wrapping yourself up in a big coat and walking through the first frost or hazy evenings.

The intro melts into the wonderful Agoraphobia, which is sung by guitarist Lockett Pundt and is defiantly one of the highlights of the record. Never Stops & Little Kids continue in the same kind of vain before the mellow mid section of the record comes along. This starts with the title track and ends with Activa this is so blessed out and brings the mood right down, which makes the final motornik section all the more exciting. The closer Twilight at Carbon Lake sounds most like material from the previous album and brings it all back full circle.

Overall Microcastle is a fantastic album Deerhunter and Bradford Cox’s side project Atlas Sound have managed to make two of the most engaging and well realised albums of this year.

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails