Thursday, October 7, 2010

Halcyon Digest, Deerhunter

I am going to start this review from the outside in. On looking t the album cover for Halycon Digest I thought I had stumbled upon the new cover for Antony & the Johnsons' latest release. The dark, black and white photograph. The front image of an androgynous person singing out, up. Possibly a position of pain or terror. There is something uncomfortable about the cover art for Halcyon Digest. From the start I knew I should be prepared for something different on this release.

Deerhunter's Cryptograms will always be their best album. Every song is about sound and response. There is a poetry at play with such little lyric. The distorted reality of Cox and the gang. They followed up this release with Microcastle. Microcastle, their third full length release, was enjoyable. A more lyrically heavy album still using the music as the stage. But, Cox's other band, Atlas Sound, seemed to be influencing what was at work with Deerhunter. The emergence of lyric.

After seeing Deerhunter tour with Cryptograms I was surprised by how little Cox said through words in his music. After the concert, Cox stayed behind and spent a good hour talking to anyone who would listen. Fans circled for questions, answers, and authographs. After awhile, Cox was just having a good time. This was clearly a person wanting to be heard. It was no surprise he would be in two bands. Or that lyric would start to play a more important role on his releases.

With Halcyon Digest, Deerhunter has reached their most listener friendly album. There is a sparseness to the sound. The music is softer. The voices are calmer. Cox even allows another band mate to sing from time to time. This is the Deerhunter release for fans wanting peace for Cox and the other band members. This is Deerhunter's version of Antony & the Johnson's The Crying Light.

It is probably too soon for me to review this album. I've listened to it on and off over the past two weeks. Maybe not giving it enough attention. I understand how haunting and beautiful the album is. I think it is a great step in their career.

I can't say the album is one of the year's strongest releases. Just a lovely soundtrack for a lazy, introspective day.


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