2 November 2010
listen: halcyon digest by deerhunter
Story by Andrew Reinholds
With a distinctive sound, Deerhunter create a mood of reflective memory and loneliness.
Halcyon Digest the fourth album from Deerhunter sees the band scale new heights of creativity, musical consistency and complexity. Vocalist Bradford Cox has said the album’s title ‘is a reference to a collection of fond memories and even invented ones…the way that we write and rewrite our memories to be a digest version of what we want to remember, and how that’s kind of sad’.
Indeed, the entire album is cloaked in a distinctive mood and atmosphere that hauntingly creates a mood of reflective memory, lost innocence and loneliness.
Opening track Earthquake sets the mood with its haunting guitar pattern and crushed vocal fragments as Cox laments, ‘do you think of me? Your long lost friend from the sea’. From there we are taken on a roller coaster journey of gorgeously textured tracks reinforcing the newfound maturity and clarity of the writing.
There’s still time for some great shimmering pop too, most notably on Desire Lines, six and a half minutes of anthemic spiraling guitars and ethereal vocal harmonies – a wonderful balance of classic pop structures and musical wanderings, ‘walking free, come with me, far away, everyday’.
First single Helicopter seems to be snatched from the same dreamscape as Earthquake with its percussion led snaps and lullaby like simplicity, ‘no one cares for me, I keep no company, I have minimal needs, and now they are through with me,’ croons Cox as the harmony soars.
The album’s closer ‘He Would Have Laughed’ is one final lament to the passing of time. An emotional tribute to the death of young garage-rocker Jay Reatard, is a soaring eight minute epic featuring looping beats and guitars.
Halcyon Digest is the sound of a band discovering itself and coming of age. Whether or not this album sees them receive some/any sort of mainstream recognition remains to be seen. It’s unlikely they’ll be too worried if once again their efforts fall on deaf ears.
Most fans will more than likely have this already. For the curious or uninitiated, Halcyon Digest comes highly recommended.