Saturday, 16 October 2010

Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest: Review

Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest: Review

Deerhunter, a self proclaimed "ambient punk" band, first emerged sometime in 2001. The band, lead by charismatic, yet softly spoken, Bradford Cox, have released a number of albums that seem to meld together the pounding, scuzzy and abrasive sounds found in garage rock with the lulling, dreamy qualities heard in shoegaze rock. This formula makes for very interesting and appealing listening and they have been praised by both music fans and critics alike.
Their most recent effort, Halcyon Digest, is possibly their most realised, cohesive and engaging attempt at mastering their unique sound.

The album flows along beautifully. Lyrically, Cox seems to lamenting the dissapearance of more simple times, his words dripping with an aching sense of nostalgia and longing. The album opener " Earthquake " is presented in the form of a slowed drum track followed by beautiful guitar arpeggios and Cox's hushed vocals. Its definitely an album highlight and sets up the rest of the record nicely.
Things suddenly shift up a few gears and " Revival " blasts through the speakers, reminding fans of Deerhunter why they fell in love with the band in the first place.
This is a band that have gotten better and better with each release. A lot of care has been taken into these song arrangements, although the uninitiated listener would easily be forgiven to think that some of the arrangements are like a patchwork quilt of sounds. Lingering and drifting slowly from one idea to the next.

The album flirts between stripped down sparseness and liberal instrumentation. We are treated to saxophones even! On the track " Coronado ". The sparse moments come..And they are nothing short of mesmerizing. Cox sings, " only fear/ can make you feel lonely here " with such sincerity in his voice during " Sailing ", it's hard not feel slightly choked up.
The real special moment here though is the song " Helicopter ". With Cox singing " No one cares for me/ I keep no company/ I have minimal needs/ And now they are through with me " all over the backing of a lush sound scape consisting of drum beats, electro-acoustic guitars and the usual gorgeous textures associated with ambient rock. It's a truly awesome few minutes of music.

Halcyon Digest is a simply brilliant album. An essential addition to any serious music collectors repitoire and, of course an absolute must for any deerhunter fan.
It is easily their most fully realised album, in terms of the sound the band had set about creating for themselves.


  1. I would definitely describe this as "ambient punk"... Not my cup of tea but here's a link to Revival:

  2. I got into Deerhunter not long ago. Good stuff.

  3. I haven't heard of this band before, I'm gonna have to check them out now :o

  4. good review. i'm def gonna listen to this album now

  5. This is some good shit right here, homes. I haven't reviewed anything like this yet in my blog, I have a very diverse sense of music. This is a little bland for me but I defenently have to give them a few more tries. Not bad, nice blog.


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Weirdo with a love for all things weird and obscure.