Microcastle – Deerhunter

Label: 4Ad

It’s not that Bradford Cox’s celebrated but challenging avant-garde side project Atlas Sound doesn’t solidify into something palpable and make a connection from time to time, because it does. Especially with hypnotically repetitive repeat listens.  And it’s not that his band Deerhunter’s last entirely-lauded-by-everyone release, ‘Cryptograms’, didn’t have its flourishing moments of relatively palatable pop tunefulness, because it did elevate from the drone on occasion to distinguish itself. It’s just that ‘Microcastle’ is such an easily understood, gargantuan triumph without sacrificing their core sonic aspirations that everything else Cox does from here on in will surely orbit around it. It feels like Mercury Rev’s ‘Deserter’s Songs’, which for them erupted from a pyre of non-conformist out-there progressiveness like a velvet trousered phoenix with a magic wand and an orchestra, and for Deerhunter it does much the same, without the orchestra but with much hocus pocus. In fact it really does feel exactly like ‘Deserter’s Songs’ in many respects, through the open-winged mountain psychedelia it peddles so effortlessly to its close, the footsteps-in-the-snow-pure grasp of melody sketched out so carefully, the unending sense of wonder, apparent from the moment the album opens climbing towards the sky with ‘Cover Me (Slowly)’. Stir in the naturally forward-rolling momentum of Yo La Tengo’s barn-spun songwriting, Sonic Youth’s relationship with the details of an ever changing musical cosmos, the harmonic mish-mash of Animal Collective’s ambition and a little of the textural interest of Grizzly Bear and you have one of the sturdiest American indie albums possibly this decade.  A magnificent indulgence.

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Release: Deerhunter - Microcastle
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Released: 27 October 2008