Atlanta rock band Deerhunter is defined by two simple characteristics – teenage angst and sexual exploration. The latter I got from a sticker on the album that described their sound as “a distrubing plea for erotic asphyxiation.” Um … is that supposed to make me want to buy the album?
Deerhunter’s breakout release, Cryptograms, was something of an anthem for all the freaks and losers struggling through their post-puberty years. Concerts seemed like viewing therapy sessions, as lead singer Bradford Cox cathartically screamed his shrill tenor into the microphone, barely hiding the years of torment from his personal anguish as a teenager with Marfan syndrome (the Abe Lincoln disease). As for the autoerotic stuff – yes, Cox does look like he’s giving the mic a blow job when he sings.
The first words in Microcastle come on the second track from guitarist Lockett Pundt and sets the tone for the album: “Come for me, you cover me/ Come for me, comfort me.” His longing for comfort in light of his insecurity and isolation does not arrive at a definite conclusion, as the track ends with a drone of melancholy guitars, and a gentle, upbeat rhythm.
Overall, Microcastle is a winner. The tracks seamlessly range from ethereal to catchy, and the instrumental tracks are more focused and purposeful than in Cryptograms. It’s a complex album that addresses simple themes. Microcastle gives no answers to sexually confused post-teens, but it does offer a soundtrack for the lives of any of us who can or could relate.
Give these tracks a listen: Agoraphobia, Nothing Ever Happened
Sounds like: Liars, Grizzly Bear
– Chris Rue