Main man Bradford Cox keeps busy: this is Deerhunter's sixth album and he has a parallel career as the more experimental Atlas Sound. Increasingly, lines between have blurred, and in places here (when distortion pedal and vocal effects get a serious thrashing) it might be hard to discern the separate projects. Cox has described this as "punk rock" (it's not) to "getting a neon tube smashed across your head" (more feasible on Leather Jacket II). The sleeve says "file under Nocturnal Garage" and that seems right, although the chiming melodies of mid-period Deerhunter remain (the breezy The Missing, the almost jaunty but lyrically bleak Pensacola) and Cox has an ear for a broad sweep of pop history - Beach Boys, Ramones and dreamy Lennon - and distills some of those elements into crisp, concise songs.
This isn't quite up with Microcastle (2008) or the superb Halcyon Digest (2010), but in the second half where the mood turns quieter (T.H.M., about a family suicide), bitter (Blue Agent) or into shoe-gaze ballads (Sleepwalking), there's repeat-play material at the midpoint between dyspeptic Eels, bands like Slowdive and a shuffled deck of classic American pop (Byrds, Petty).
Again Cox/Deerhunter is worth tuning in for.
Verdict: Another time in the ring for Atlanta's feisty middleweight
- TimeOut / elsewhere.co.nz