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Deerhunter: music video fantasies and the pitfalls of gay porn

Deerhunter – Halycon Digest review

I know everyone and their mother is reviewing this album, but I thought I’d step up and take a swing. I have to admit though, I’ve only just discovered Deerhunter. Yeah, I said it. Moving past the gasps of disbelief and the head shaking disappointment- isn’t that the whole point of music? The endless exploration? With new bands constantly breaking the surface, and existing bands evolving and releasing new material- it never ends. I never feel the need to apologize when someone rattles on about some band and the only reply I can offer is, “Who?” Regardless, the more I read about Bradford Cox’s love of blood splattered sundresses and a song inspired by the eastern European gay porn industry, I knew I had to throw down the cash for Halcyon Digest.

Reminding me of early Floyd or Kinks, combined with the dreamy indie-rock sound of the Dandy Worhals, Deerhunter still manages to claim its own unique spoke in the giant spinning wheel of the music industry.

Opening with an odd drum machine mix, “Earthquake” quickly offers a soothing guitar line and Bradford Cox’s smooth haunting voice that almost rocks you to sleep. The album continues this dreamy theme through songs like”Revival” and “Sailing”, until reaching the melodic New York sound of guitarist Lockett Pundt’s contribution, “Desire Lines.” The drawn out rhythmic jam capping off “Desire Lines” doesn’t disappoint, and just when you think you’ve pegged Deerhunter as ambient punk, they still manage to peel back the layers to reveal a simplistic early sixties rock tune like “Basement Scene.”

But as with most albums, I have to pick one song that really gets my head spinning. With my brain filling with scenes from an indie-film period piece showcasing four young lads maneuvering through the sometimes treacherous avenues of a high-end boarding school, “Coronado” seems take you on an early sixties adventure. Detecting a theme, here? For me, “Coronado” seems to spin a tale of Bradford Cox leading his mild-mannered gang of musical underdogs as they duck and weave around yuppie pricks and resentful school administrators, only to come out the other end with the girl and a recording contract. Am I the only one that manufactures music videos in his head? Can you see it? Listen and let me know. Maybe, we could call it Desire Lines.

Although not my most outspoken song pick, “Helicopter” is definitely the most interesting. The simple, yet catchy tune is an excellent portrait of how complicated and dangerous life can get in no time at all. Based on the story of a young inspiring Russian fashion designer, turned pornographic model and performer, “Helicopter” picks just one story of the young man’s unsolved demise. After being cutoff from concerned friends for some time, a chilling story emerges from a well-known Russian crime figure held in custody and awaiting trial. He goes on to tell a story to investigators claiming to have witnessed a young man matching the description of the song’s muse, being pushed out of a helicopter over a remote chunk of  forest in Northern Russia some time 2005. Or, was he sold as a sex slave, only to commit suicide a couple of years later.

I know, a dark offering from Deerhunter. However, it also could be contrived as a clear demonstration of their ability to rummage not only through their minds but through the gritty parts of life for material. And thank God for that.

Available now at most major music stores and at the following link.

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