DEERHUNTER:: Microcastle (Album Review)
So many shoegaze bands rely on fog and thunder to coolly obscure what they’re doing underneath, but when Deerhunter digs into its impressive collection of spacey effects, it acts as a warm blanket for leader Bradford Cox’s tender missives.
“Cover me / comfort me,” he pleads over snappy backing not long into the band’s long-awaited follow-up to 2006’s “Cryptograms.” Fresh off overnight indie-rock stardom and a magnificent solo debut as Atlas Sound, Cox here makes that hype look almost like understatement as he and Deerhunter compete with TV On The Radio for the title of the most dreamy and adventurous yet poppy and accessible band in America. Unlike TVOTR’s new “Dear Science,” though, “Microcastle” doesn’t fuse genres as much as settle into its own niche somewhere between fuzzy ambient, heartfelt pop, and arty rock. It’s a very consistent record, with lots of wide-open spaces and quivering quietness, and just about every sound seems to fit perfectly exactly where it sits.
If there’s a flaw here, it’s that the album is less immediate than it could be, largely unfolding in late-night whisper and tiptoes. But as hinted at by song titles like “Agoraphobia,” that approach fits Cox’s introversion to a tee. Essential download: “Cover Me (Slowly)”
— Doug Wallen