Just how good are some of these American bands which manage to get feted in the British press? And are they really better than some home grown Scottish talent? Deerhunter are on their fourth LP but first came across my radar with their third LP ‘Microcastle’ – which featured very highly in many end of year lists in 2008.
Whilst I liked the album at lot at the time it was one of these records which seemed to fade quickly from the memory. In part that was down to the dreamy melodies so I was surprised, when listening to it again a few weeks ago, just how much I liked it.
Follow-up ‘Halcyon Digest‘ is in many ways more of the same. The melodies at times seem to lack substance so the likes of ‘Sailing’ and ‘Basement Scene’ end up being fairly limp compositions. But the likes of ‘Memory Boy’ and ‘Desirelines’ are far more robust numbers even if the latter borrows its lengthy outro from ‘Nothing Ever Happened’ on the last LP.
Elsewhere there’s a pleasing use of different rhythms whilst ‘Revival’ reminds of a 60 novelty acoustic hit, which for the life of me I can’t pin down.
‘Coranado’ meanwhile uses wind instruments rather unexpectedly but gels nicely with the record overall and closing track ‘He Would Have Laughed’ is based round a simple but effective keyboard motif reminiscent in some ways of Eels.
My overall impression is that the songwriting isn’t quite as strong on ‘Halcyon Digest’ as it was on ‘Microcastle’ which brings me back to my opening comments.
For all that there’s some interesting sounds woven throughout this record I genuinely don’t think that the songwriting is as good as on the debut LPs by Kid Canaveral and Mitchell Museum. Certainly Deerhunter have several years head start in which they have built up a reputation but I do find it a little frustrating the struggle that these bands have to attract wider attention. (6.5/10)
From the LP, the video for ‘Helicopter’:
Deerhunter tour the UK at the end of March 2011.