The second full-length outing from Atlanta's DEERHUNTER, and their first for Kranky. Twelve tracks recorded during two very different one-day sessions that explore the hypnotic states induced by ambient and minimalist music via the klang and propulsion of garage rock. "... a massive, psych-heavy, art-damaged five-piece, and one of the most inspired new bands we've heard in quite a while. Deerhunter's forthcoming Kranky debut is likely to make them one of the most talked-about bands of 2007.
Deerhunter's artsy second full-length record is about contrast; dissonant but melodic, loud and bold yet dreamy and peaceful. Like Spiritualized on a bad trip, the first half is noisy, moody, and mostly instrumental except for Bradford Cox's occasional, heavily distorted sing-talking. But it shifts gears on "Spring Hall Convert" when the music lightens into lo-fi shoegazer pop. Elsewhere you'll find clanging punk, drone rock, and minimalist psychedelia. Sounds like a disjointed experience, right? Well, yeah, it is somewhat, but stay with it. After a few listens you'll hear the consistent sonic smarts that unify the record's wandering tone. The title track for instance comes off like watered-down Joy Division until the feedback kicks in, and the giant guitar blare sets off a charging momentum. A song like "Hazel St." has a goofier appeal, with its slightly awkward intro and loopy melodies. But there's nothing awkward about how the song generously unfolds so that by the end, the only thing goofy is the grin on your face. Such dynamism makes you wish they'd take a little more time in the studio to smooth out some of the record's rough edges, but then again, does the world need another glossy, over-produced record? Enjoy Cryptograms for its messy and scattered charm as well as its deceptively complex intelligence. --Matthew Cooke