The prolific output of Deerhunter should at least get you to notice them, but it’s the band’s consistency that will convert you. They’re one of a select few that is able to combine successfully their art-rock tendencies with melodic fortitude.
Normally, this sense of melody comes in the form of reverberated cavestomps that sound like fractured, Nuggets-era musings on death, drugs, and disturbing characters.
The running gag may be the notion that Deerhunter frontman Bradford Cox is somehow recoiling from the “fame” that all of the critical praise that was bestowed on Cryptograms. There’s additional evidence of the need to step away from the spotlight as early as song number two on the band’s third release, Microcastle. In it, Cox sheepishly dreams of being held in a room (“I want only to see / Four walls made of concrete / Six by six enclosed / See me on videos” – “Agoraphobia”) seemingly hinting at a seclusion to which some have concluded is a result of all of the attention his band has received.
Make no mistake, that aforementioned attention is totally deserved—and will deservedly grow more with Microcastle—but we’re not talking about a band that gets name checked in everyday conversations and I would be shocked if Cryptograms sold more than 10,000 copies after all of the written hullaballoo (including here).
In fact, I bet at least half of you reading this right now are confusing this Atlanta quartet with Deerhoof.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: just because it’s been a couple months since we’ve done a Forkcast update, it doesn’t mean we haven’t been paying attention. Here’s some good stuff that the Fr0k has given up recently:
Fairly recently, the band Deerhunter changed the headline of their MySpace page to read “Apparently we are a hipster band now,” a cute acknowledgement of all of the positive praise they’ve received this year, including some on this website from yours truly.
Cynics might deride the idea to release an EP of all new material so soon after releasing an acclaimed full length as a blatant attempt at cashing in on the band’s increased press, but trust me, as soon as you hear what Deerhunter whipped up in the studio while mixing Cryptograms, you’ll understand the need for such close release dates.
It’s amazing what a band can do when they have something epic in mind and only a shoestring budget to execute it with. Take Deerhunter, an Atlanta quintet that went in to the studio a few years ago with the intention to make a grand statement, only to have the sessions end in turmoil from a number of technical and personal dramas as well as a limited amount of financial resources to help keep the project afloat.
Understanding that they needed to press on in order to make their creative statement, and understanding that their bank accounts hadn’t grow at all since they first started recording, Deerhunter went back into the studio for a another attempt to complete their second album.
Because of their monetary limitations, much of Cryptograms was recorded “on the fly.” With only a few days of studio time at their disposal, every miscue, flubbed note, and mistake was captured. And every inch of tape was used: you can actually hear the recording tape run out of “Red Ink,” the final song of side one.