Microcastle / Weird Era Continued
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4AD's first involvement with the band was to release Microcastle, their excellent third album. The follow-up to 2006's acclaimed Cryptograms, it was recorded over the course of a week at Rare Book Studios in Brooklyn, New York with Nicolas Verhes and was created as a four-piece, consisting of Bradford Cox, Lockett Pundt, Joshua Fauver and Moses Archuleta. Most tracks feature Cox on lead vocals except "Agoraphobia" and "Neither of Us, Uncertainly" where guitarist Pundt is the main provider and "Saved by Old Times", which includes a vocal collage by Cole Alexander of "The Black Lips".
The sounds on Microcastle form a lush landscape. Ethereal voices blend into battered guitars and a determined rhythm section.
Microcastle has more fully formed songs and vocals, although Cox's narcotic mumble is generally half buried under layers of reverb, feedback and other guitar noise as well as tape loops and electronica. Just don't look for information about who's doing what in the minimal sleeve notes, and forget about analyzing the lyrics, since Cox seems firmly of the words-as-musical-tools school of song writing. Praise Be!Read more ›
The strongest tunes, as on the previous CD, remain those with a full-on wave of mutilation. They can begin softly, tentatively, before cresting, nearly without you realizing it, into giant splashes of sonic boom. This characteristic of Deerhunter's delivery, to me, shows the talent that they're capable of as a forceful unit, instead of anyone expecting only a Cox-led group of back-up players using the older band's name.
My son heard Jesus & Mary Chain here and there; I heard Grandaddy! The range of influences distorted and sensitive, beyond a less overdriven My Bloody Valentine, does account for the intelligence of the songwriter and his bandmates. The experimental confidence on "Cryptograms" isn't as extended as I'd expected on "Microcastle." It's there, but it ebbs and flows. The record's tracking may account for lulls, especially midway, but these must be intentional to offset the amplified tracks; this same distribution of tone and pace for structure can be heard on "Cryptograms."
There's not many bands an older fan (me) and a younger (my son) can share, and this breadth of vision that Deerhunter's been entering holds promise for their career as a band, rather than a more famous musician and his crew.Read more ›
Deerhunter's third album, "Microcastle/Weird Era Continued" (2 CDs; 25 tacks; 83 min.) is obviously a very ambitious studio double-album. On CD1 "Microcastle" (12 tracks; 41 min.), lead singer and songwriter Bradford Cox has become more accessible than ever before. Check out "Never Stops", which could be a radio single, and the outright rocking "Nothing Ever Happened". Not that Deerhunter has lost its "off the beaten track" touch, check out the title track, "Active" and "Calvart Scars", among others. The adventures continue on CD2 "Weird Era Continued" (13 tracks; 42 min.), as "Backspace Century" crashes in. CD2 is more "off the cuff" and at times reminds me of Beck (see "Ghost Outfit", for example). Songs like "Vox Humana" remind me of the Besnard Lakes.
In all, this is a terrific album, even though at 80+ min. it is quite a lot to take in. I have not had the opportunity yet to see these guys in concert, but hopefully 2009 will give me the opportunity to finally do so. Looking forward to that! Meanwhile, this ambitious album is highly recommended!
"Little Kids" is a perfect slab of dream pop with just the right amount of sweeping distortion. The title track, "Microcastle" begins with a chorus-laden guitar and watery vocals before transitioning into a full Jesus and Mary Chain styled melody. Deerhunter preserve their ambient style with several songs before returning to the rock fold of "Nothing Ever Happened."
On this album, there's even room for an acoustic number, "Saved By Old Times" which references the sound collages and experiments in the lyrics. Album closers "Neither Of Us, Uncertainly" and "Twilight At Carbon Lake" shimmer appropriately in a spacey kind of way.
With this album, the bleeps and bloops that inhabit Deerhunter's songs are no longer the main focus. Deerhunter is less abstract than they were before but experimental elements still creep into their approach to song writing. Deerhunter sounds more like a band now than an experiment in sound, and I think that's a step in the right direction.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great album! Cd was delivered quickly and for a great deal. I highly recommend this cd and seller to anyone :)Published 9 months ago by Richard Jesse Salazar
I love this band, and Microcastle has some really great music.Published 11 months ago by James Hunter Ross
I think this is a good mix for the traveler..or the home..thoughful and provocative..It is really worth buying and you will enjoy this cdPublished on March 2, 2014 by Laguna madre
I'm always amazed at how Deerhunter songs grow on you after each listen. This album keeps with that theme for me. Read morePublished on May 14, 2012 by texbuck
This is by far one of my favorite albums of all time. It takes a listen or two to really digest this before it latches onto you and doesn't let up. Read morePublished on December 18, 2011 by rach
Countless times, I have listened to a album that either instantly hooks me or takes me awhile to get into. Read morePublished on January 21, 2011 by R. Walker
I lucked out and heard this at a record store the other day. glad I asked who it was. this is what newer groups should be doing. great new music. Read morePublished on August 18, 2010 by Jared Jennings
Pitchfork gushed over this album, and while there are some tremendous cuts, Bradford Cox meanders along too many lulls and psychedelic paths. Read morePublished on June 25, 2009 by B. Gavin