Laneway Festival: Deerhunter

By Scott Kara

Who: Deerhunter

Where and when: Laneway Festival, Aotea Square, Jan 31, 5.30pm

Essential albums: Halcyon Digest (2010), Microcastle (2008)

Atlanta band Deerhunter's music has a heady pop sensibility. Photo / Supplied
Atlanta band Deerhunter's music has a heady pop sensibility. Photo / Supplied

Poor old Moses Archuleta. He's recounting how as he's got older it's become harder to sit down and appreciate music and listen to a whole album.

"Being over-exposed to music and information technology at this point in my life has saturated my brain for music a bit I think, and that's sort of a depressing thing," he says with a quiet chuckle.

"But music is very important to me, I care about it deeply. I know that it definitely changes the way a room feels, or my mood."

Not that his lack of appreciation for music has got in the way of his Atlanta band Deerhunter, playing the Laneway Festival, who have made some of the most intriguing and inventive music of recent years.

They are a mind and mood-altering band. Their album from last year, Halcyon Digest, which made No. 4 on TimeOut's top 30, can go from crackling ambient on Earthquake, to ragged and fuzzy on Don't Cry, and jangly on Desire Lines. But it's all done with a heady pop - albeit drone pop - sensibility.

Desire Lines is especially masterful with its many different layers and a big, loud guitar solo to end the song.

"It's probably my favourite song off the album," he says. "And it was the one for me that took the longest for me to come around on. It was really hard to nail the certain sensibility with that song. And it's definitely one of those songs that goes where it goes on the album for a reason because it bridges a lot of things together," he says.

Archuleta says this time round, after 10 years as a band, they felt comfortable enough to experiment more in the studio.

"Without it being a bad thing for us, or for people to listen to," he says dryly. "It seems like it's the record that we made that mined a lot of studio or musical impulses we've had but never had the chance to do, and we experimented with a lot of stuff that we hadn't done before."

Like the saxophone that pops up rather surprisingly on sloppy pop rocker Coronado.

While Archuleta is a mainstay of the band, it's the other co-founder Bradford Cox - an eccentric music-maker if ever there was one - who he credits as the band's leader and creative force.

"Creatively speaking we all have our input but I feel most bands need a person who is willing to do that - and it's him usually," he laughs.

And the pair have known each other since they were teenagers so Archuleta, while he doesn't exactly relate to Cox's whimsical and stream of consciousness lyrics, does understand where he's coming from and goes along for the ride. Even if that means getting weirder and weirder.

"Since he's started getting older I think it's just a natural progression for him that his words are getting more queer."

The next album should be an, er, interesting one then.

- NZ Herald

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