Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I Actually Like: Deerhunter's Microcastle

Much like Deerhoof, I've tried to get into Deerhunter for a long time. On paper, the band sounds like perfection: signed to Kranky, weird, overbearing vocalist with a host of personal problems (not to sound callous, but this describes at least 75% of my favorite singers), equal parts shoegaze, psych rock, and ambient music. But shit, as they say, just did not add up.

Most Deerhunter songs start off interesting but go nowhere. Whereas a Guided By Voices song (and GBV are a good comparison since Deerhunter frontman/lead songwriter Bradford Cox is equally as prolific as Bob Pollard) cycles through an album's worth of hooks in one song, a Deerhunter song finds one pretty melody or one pleasantly cycling bassline and runs it into the ground. To convince the listener the song is progressing, liberal amounts of fuzz and echo are applied to every sound in the mix after, say, the 2:00 mark.

It's not like I'm sort of pop purist who can only enjoy songs with a verse-chorus-middle eight structure, because the Deerhunter songs I listen to the most are the droning, soft-focus intstrumentals. When it comes to ambient or drone or wallpaper music or whatever you want to call music that just sort of drifts by you, I love pretty much everything that doesn't sound like a Wyndham Hill compilation. But if you're going to write songs, please don't half-ass it and try to coast on one good idea.

Microcastle, unlike previous Deerhunter efforts, actually has songs that sound finished. Not to mention much more dynamic production, courtesy of Nicolas Vernhes. Check out "Never Stops" which has a wonderfully twinkling and sweeping chorus (a chorus?! who'd a thunk it?):

Despite my enjoyment of Microcastle, I find this hilarious.