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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably Deerhunter's finest work to date
Halcyon Digest is simply a beautiful album. The production is lush and detailed, which compliments the band's more dreampop-leaning sound on this album perfectly. This is more of a pop album than Cryptograms or Microcastle, and only one song ("Desire Lines") features one of Deerhunter's characteristic guitar drone/jam-outs. That said, the songwriting here is mature and...
Published on September 29, 2010 by J. Mitchell

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good album, but somewhat overrated
This album is the first I have heard by Deerhunter. I enjoy the unique use of percussion, occasional driving guitars, the brass, and some of the lyrics on this album. Overall, I'm not sold on the album as a whole, however. Tracks like 'Desire Lines' and 'Helicopter' and 'Coronado' are instantly enjoyable each in its own special way. However, 'Sailing' 'Basement Scene' and...
Published on January 16, 2012 by D. A. Nelson


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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably Deerhunter's finest work to date, September 29, 2010
By 
J. Mitchell (New York, NY United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Halcyon Digest (Audio CD)
Halcyon Digest is simply a beautiful album. The production is lush and detailed, which compliments the band's more dreampop-leaning sound on this album perfectly. This is more of a pop album than Cryptograms or Microcastle, and only one song ("Desire Lines") features one of Deerhunter's characteristic guitar drone/jam-outs. That said, the songwriting here is mature and tight, and there is at most one song on this album that's skip-worthy. In my view, the second half is stronger than the first, but this is a solid listen all the way through and will likely be one of my top albums of the year. Top songs: "Fountain Stairs," "Desire Lines," "Helicopter," "Coronado."
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Deerhunter Halcyon Digest review by Great Blog in the Sky, October 21, 2010
This review is from: Halcyon Digest (Audio CD)
A halcyon is a mythical bird said to have the power to charm the wind and waves into calmness. Deerhunter do just that on their latest release, Halcyon Digest.

Maybe the album title should have given it away, but when I pressed play I expected a fourth dose of their complicated, partially-disruptive instrument style wrapped around Bradford Cox's mid-toned, pace-setting voice. Maybe even a track that sounds like the band is tuning their instruments or forgot for 33 seconds that the "On Air" sign was illuminated. None of that lives on Halcyon. What you get this time from Deerhunter is a greater calmness, more patience, and a perfectly listenable collection of songs. And you will happily take it.

The album moves freely inside a short range of sounds. From the atmospheric, and surprisingly gentle opener, "Earthquake," to the more pepped-up and jangly "Revival" Halcyon just doesn't roam wild. What catches this listener by pleasant surprise is the undisrupted, melodic style; the simplicity of the patterns in the songs; and how much more I appreciate Bradford Cox's voice as an integral part of the listening experience.

The back half of the album is more traditional Deerhunter with the punchy "Desire Lines" and ghosty and semi-distant "Basement Scene," but overall still greatly restrained. At no point do the guitars run away with it or does a song just drop off into oblivion or morph into some stacked loops of percussion, vocals, and strings. It holds tightly together to the finish. Now, I do love the "two-fer" songs, where the front of the song and the end of the song sounds like they came from two different places giving you a two-for-one kind of feel (a la "Nothing Ever Happened" at the 2:00 mark where you "never saw it coming"), but with Halcyon it's an effortless 45 minutes soaking in songs with soft, round edges.

The album finishes with "He Would Have Laughed," a tribute to the late Jay Reatard and, even though pushing 7 1/2 minutes, cuts short at the end, just like Reatard's own life.

Halcyon strikes me as the album that will net droves of new fans for Deerhunter. It's palatable to the masses, sing-a-long-able, has some catchy hooks, and introduces a cool factor to the iTunes collection of all those Coldplay fans. This is the album that will result in the acquisition of Deerhunter's back catalog and, for the savvy, an investigation into Cox's solo work under the Atlas Sound moniker.

Trail Map: Air - U2 - The Beatles - Animal Collective

Score: 80/100

If you listen to only one: Desire Lines

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23 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deerhunter - Halcyon days and idyllic tunes, September 30, 2010
This review is from: Halcyon Digest (Audio CD)
Last years Atlas Sound album "Logos" from the Bradford Cox inspired side project was a wicked delight and therefore it is a pleasure to report that his primary source of music making namely the band "Deerhunter" originating out Atlanta, Georgia have come out firing on all cylinders on this brilliant fourth album. That said a slight problem may be in store for those of you still deeply smitten by the 2008 double album and wall of guitar noise beast "Microcastle", since this is altogether a very different proposition. Praise or blame for this must be partly apportioned to the presence of Ben Allen at the mixing desk, this is the man who after all conjured up the sonic alchemy in terms of Animal Collective's 2009 genre defining masterpiece "Merriweather post pavilion".

Check out the watery and sweet "Helicopter" on Halycon Digest and try not to note the presence of otherworldly elements which Avey Tare, Panda Bear and co teased to the forefront on Merriweather (and for good measure also seek out one of the plethora of mixes of this song on the net not least the joyous Star Slinger mash up every bit the darker cousin of Passion Pit's "Sleepyhead"). Truly, truly wonderful stuff in both guises. Then you have the latest single "Revival" a mix of Brian Wilson like "Smile" induced psychedelia and 70's glam rock. This deserves to a chart smash and of course pigs will fly. The six minute plus "Desire lines" alternatively suggests that the Cox might have had an advance copy of the Arcade Fire's "Suburbs" and is full of minor baroque and theatrical flourishes leading up to a storming conclusion which has become the Montreal minstrels signature sound. The Guardian has said of this album that it is "timeless music, seemingly made with the conviction that loveliness will always be lovely" and no where is this more apparent than on the epic album closer "He would have laughed" dedicated to Cox's friend the late Jay Reatard which is a two part song that shifts from a rolling bubbling synth pop with almost a Baba O'Reilly motif to a shift at 5 minutes into a darker song punctuated by contradictory lyrics such as "I lived on a farm, yeah/ I never lived on a farm" which ends so suddenly you despair the CD may be scratched or blotted by a dirty fingerprint. Along the way to this glorious final destination you will encounter other fine songs such as the slow acoustic "Basement scene" which sounds like Buddy Holly on acid, the thumping "Memory Boy" a pop song of such excellence that the British Quality Foundation should investigate and the sax driven "Coronada" which is almost a dirty rocker in this albums context.

This is an absurdly endearing record and even after the first listen you know that you are partaking of a dish to which you will return for afters. There is absolutely no reason why Deerhunter and Bradford Cox in particular shouldn't be names whispered in hushed and hallowed tones around the world of rock/indie music and the phrase "next big thing" attached to them without fear of ridcule. "Halycon Digest" is an album that Cox and Co have threatened to make over the past decade and aren't we especially grateful that they have delivered in full.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Finest Record of 2010?, November 24, 2010
This review is from: Halcyon Digest (Audio CD)
I'm proud to admit that I own at least one copy of everything Deerhunter-related, including the overrated 1978 Michael Cimino war-era drama. To me, Deerhunter frontman Bradford Cox is what we all sit around tailking about: an artist who knows what came before, digested it and found a way to produce something new-yet-familiar that is forever covered, front to back, with his unique fingerprints. No one has ever sounded like Bradford Cox before, but he's really not doing anything too weird or difficult, especially on this record, Halcyon Digest, the fifth proper Deerhunter full length (that's counting the band's impossible-to-get debut and the obscure Carve Your Initials Into the Walls of the Night). The Deer's last record, 2008's double album, Mircocastle/Weird Era Continued, saw the Atlanta-based rockers taking leaps towards a more commercially accessible sound, a jump that continues on Halcyon.

The result is a sound that would've once been described as "college rock radio," but now, because it is both straightforward and strange, is harder to classify. Neither a proper Pitchfork/blog-era band or Rolling Stone outsider champion, Deerhunter could almost be described as a Radiohead-aware garage band with a kinda/sorta girly singer. That is, a garage band with some pretty cool tricks and toys, and a leader with lyrics and vocals too good to be screamed or buried in the mix.

Lengthy opener "Earthquake" is a slow, muddy and atmospheric stage-setter, showing that, once again, the Deers have some new cards to play. Despite its modest production, the song feels every bit as expansive and pseudo-progressive as a Radiohead cut. There's no big post-production, politics or pretentious vibe here; this is a slow, sturdy opener for indie rockers who prefer the art of album-making to stage antics or unnecessary scene-setting.

Next up is "Don't Cry," a poppy, mid-tempo rocker that could've easily been on disc one of Microcastle. Three years ago a fairly accessible cut like this, which displays Cox's signature optimism, would've been the band's most radio-friendly work to date. Same goes for "Memory Boy." Not here. On Halcyon, a song like Don't Cry is only a warm-up for a track like Revival, an instantly lovable carnival ride into the depths of the band's endless ability to write fresh and cool songs. While raving on about this record to friends, I always make mention of "Revival," calling it one of the two "lifer" cuts on the record. (What's a "lifer" cut, you ask? Have you heard the opening song on Loveless? Or how about "Like a Rolling Stone.")

Guitarist Lockett Pundt's "Desire Lines" is another instant standout. For the unfamiliar, Pundt (who releases solo albums under the Lotus Plaza moniker) is also a very solid song maker, working closely with Cox all along, together developing a cohesive sound. He's the one sideman in the history of sidemen who I wish would contribute even more songs to his band's records.

There's too man great songs here to discuss, truthfully, but I'd be a failed critic if I didn't mention the sax-laced "Coronado," easily my favorite cut of this year. It's Cox at his most memorable and lovable, catapulting him, in my opinion, to the top of the songwriter heap. A song you just have to hear.

While some may still prefer the artsy approach of the band's breakout record, Cryptograms, to the more accessible Halcyon Digest, I do not. Not even close. And I'd argue that anyone with adult opinions about art also will not. As much as I love and respect experimental bands like Animal Collective (whom Cox also loves and sometimes even works with), I have a greater respect for an artist like Bradford. The man knows that, at the end of the day, it's the pop songs that stick and last and influence. And, knowing this, he approaches his work with a strong creative love, using every second of every song, squeezing as many details and ideas into the margin as he can. The deep, strange art and inventiveness is always there, mixed in the moments that hold together verse and hook.

The result is one of 2010's best releases yet. And, even more importantly, Cox here becomes (along with Sufjan Stevens), the new leader of his thoroughly confused, blog-screwed generation of overzealous hipster artists. Hopefully some of these flavor-of-the-month kids will find the influence of Halcyon and maybe start making music that still sounds good next weekend. Halcyon Digest is a rare thing: art rock done right.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars innovative indie rock at its best!, November 4, 2010
This review is from: Halcyon Digest (Audio CD)
4th album from Atlanta, Georgia band whose appeal continues to grow. "Halcyon Digest" has
some amazingly understated/orchestrated exploratory indie pop/rock that manages to be
consistently surprising & innovative, while maintaining a primitive, gut-level appeal. These are
absolutely gorgeous, insanely beguiling, dreamy pop songs, with a fresh feel of naturally
serendipitous authenticity. It's as though Bradford Cox isn't trying to write great songs; he just
processes the world around him & this is what happens. There is an abundance of perfectly
placed guitars threaded around the subtly affecting vocals, and surrounded by an assortment of
strange, oddly warm sounds. Includes members of Atlas Sound, Lotus Plaza. Another contender
for this year's best!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SPLENDID, GREAT, IDYLLIC AND BEAUTIFUL!!!, October 20, 2010
By 
This review is from: Halcyon Digest (Audio CD)
Deerhunter have created a seamless album of startling emotional clarity. This record marks a distinctly different approach for the band, more streamlined and stripped down, creates endless depths of intricacy and nuance to explore in headphones.

Everything in life evolves, however, we will always experience changes, the trouble is not accepting, the good is to digest the changes, when we are unable to accept the changes we should make one side with respect to let things flow at their own pace, It is clear (enough) that Bradford Cox and company are experiencing many changes and as they are excellent artists like to create something new and very good.

Deerhunter have continued to evolve and they've done it without losing their innovative, defiant spirit or knack for crafting swirling guitar pop epics and reverb drenched soundscapes. Curiously, Deerhunter's forward-looking evolution is fuelled largely by nostalgia.

Retro textures, in fact, are lurking in various corners of the songs, and failing that, look out shamelessly and raised the pulse of art-rock, they wanted to capture. And they do it with such ease that one might suspect that Halcyon Digest is actually a very well kept recording in the mind or soul of Bradford Cox made decades ago and now shines in its splendor, clarity and beauty, in the main this is timeless music, seemingly made with the conviction that loveliness will always be lovely (indeed the album cover is amazing).

Enjoy the music without prejudice!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very beautiful listening experience!, July 7, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Halcyon Digest (Vinyl)
I wasn't familiar with this band at all when I bought the album. I liked the sound of the samples and frankly, the cover and title intrigued me. I'm glad I went with my instinct because I can't stop listening to this record. It's beautiful and strange. The music has this timeless feel to it while still feeling very exciting and new. The singers voice is just incredibly interesting and a mix between forlorn and reflective. At times, there's a playful quality in his voice that hinges on romantic. The themes of the album seem to be about getting older and how to connect with friends and loved ones. My favorite songs are "Memory Boy", "He Would Have Laughed", "Basement Scene" and "Helicopter". It's not like anything I've heard despite hearing some influences (mostly, early 60's pop radio kind of dreamy stuff) and anytime I put the vinyl on, I always want to stop what I'm doing and listen to it. I've listened to the album from front to back about four times already.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Melodic Experimentation, May 22, 2012
This review is from: Halcyon Digest (Audio CD)
Deerhunter's HALCYON DIGEST is a whirlwind of repetition, drones, experimentation, distortion, and melodic hooks. This collection of songs probably ranks as the most easy accessible and digestible of the Deerhunter/Bradford Cox catalog; it will probably serve as a great gateway for beginners to the Deerhunter canon. Musically, the album feels like a musical successor to Radiohead's OK COMPUTER. It's all over the place in terms of tempo and timbre, but the album is maintained by a strange sadness. All of these songs stand on their own as good accomplishments, and together, they form a complete, coherent album. It's one of the best in years.

The album rarely repeats itself in regards to style and timbre. "Earthquake," the intro track, is a great slow-burning landscape; "Revival" is an all too brief uptempo track dabbling in distortion, electronics, and acoustics; "Desire Lines" is a solid rock song that ends in a flurry of ambience; "He Would Have Laughed" is the only track I don't particularly care for, but it too is wildly different than anything else on the album. Again, while these songs are diverse in their own styles, they coalesce together nicely as a unified whole.

This album is so good that I would suggest a blind-buy (buying without even previewing it). I'd recommend HALCYON DIGEST to fans of Radiohead, Grizzly Bear, and Animal Collective. Recommended highlights: "Desire Lines," "Helicopter," "Fountain Stairs," and "Revival."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW, January 14, 2011
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This review is from: Halcyon Digest (Audio CD)
I am so impressed with Deerhunter. I first heard their song "Basement Scene" on a local independent radio station here in salt Lake City. I made sure to scribe what I was hearing and promised myself I would investigate further. I usually don't follow through with such pacts, but I knew that I would be purchasing the full album as soon as I downloaded BS from iTunes. I have a hard time describing the way I feel about this album, suffice it to say that it is entirely enchanting. It's hypnotic and takes you to a place (wherever that may be), not dissimilar to Beach House's Teen Dream. I have a hard time recommending music to people because for every reason I am in love with an album, those criteria may by why another despises it. However, it is important to know good music versus music one enjoys, and I can safely say that in this case both apply. This album is well done, and done in such a genuine way that if you cannot enjoy it you can appreciate it. But if you're checking this out (because it was in the 'you may also like' section, or a trusted friend though you may like it)you will probably grow quite fond of this album. 5 stars may be indulgent, but rather than force myself to try and find a reason not to give it 5 stars, I'll appreciate it for what it is: flawless. You can tell what was intended is delivered from beginning to end.

One side note: I almost always remember an album track by track, but this all blends together so perfectly I just sort of know when moments are going to happen rather than tracks. It is really beautiful. If you are like me, you will find yourself craving these moments. They can be fleeting and potent like the memories of last night's dream.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My latest obsession, January 26, 2011
This review is from: Halcyon Digest (MP3 Music)
Where do I begin. First, I have never written a review on amazon.com for anything, let alone music. However, I can't resist praising this amazing record: LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it! The poetry is incredible, the religious references hard to miss, the layering of all of the instruments so rich and incredible, it's not overproduced and the execution is flawless.

These guys are great live, and their first record is also a must have, but I think Halcyon Digest is amazing. I hope Deerhunter is around forever. Thank you for enriching my music collection.
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Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest by Deerhunter (Audio CD - 2010)
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