Deerhunter
Microcastle


4.0
excellent

Review

by Ryan Flatley EMERITUS
October 27th, 2008 | 171 replies


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Deerhunter focus their energy in a new pop-oriented direction with Microcastle

Last year, Deerhunter’s Cryptograms was a haunting, yet blissful album. Additionally, it appeared rather bipolar; the first slew of tracks appeared bleak, while the second portion illuminated a giddy, shoegaze/indie-pop sound. But what made Cryptograms startling was its delicate balance. The sheer sum of each meticulously constructed song developed into one of the best records last year. Now in the midst of autumn comes Microcastle and Deerhunter’s sound is as vibrant as ever. Their sound has shifted to a more poppy style, with little remnants of their lush walls of sound transitioning songs found previously.

“Agoraphobia” highlights difference in the newfound clarity of sound in Microcastle. Backed by a rather bland bass line, the guitars shuffle back and forth behind Bradford Cox’s pleasantly refined vocals. The dance-ready pop tunes continue with “Never Stops,” an admirable, jubilant track. Aside from the noticeable sound difference, Cox’s lyrics tend to tell a story with as few details as possible. Perhaps it was to leave broad generalizations to create different scenarios and interpretations; or simply following suite with the majority of the songwriting encountered thus far on Microcastle. This is not to say that the songs are necessarily bland and underachieving, but more that they the execution is almost too perfect.

Where the album picks up stems from “Microcastle,” a track that slowly builds as serenading guitars, almost from a scene created through a tropical sunset, eventually builds into a needed change of direction. With a few drum hits, a shoegaze aura of sound pulsates with echoing vocals and thick bass riffs. While the span between “Calvary Scars” and “Activa” is an interesting chunk behind the experimental realms of Deerhunter, they are oddly placed in succession. Well, good thing the best song accredited to Deerhunter’s name thus far follows.

It is no surprise that when bassist Josh Fauver is pumping out his best riffs that Deerhunter shine the brightest. In fact, it becomes the focal point of “Nothing Ever Happened,” even if it is under shadowed by methodically controlled guitars for a nearly three minute jam session. The events that unfold from start to finish in “Nothing Ever Happened” are gorgeous. It is a defining moment of liveliness that sparked this album to a new height. Luckily, tracks thereafter become rather refreshing and memorable in the same instant. The muddled ending of “Neither Of Us, Uncertainly” drifts back-and-forth until the sound is untangled and a beautiful piano melody escapes as the song ends, eventually transitioning into the closing ballad “Twilight At Carbon Lake” (which ends with a killer noise breakdown).

The placement of certain tracks on Microcastle are an obvious glaring weakness, but one cannot take away the pure execution and quality of the songs. In all, Microcastle is a defining step in Deerhunter’s newfound direction that shifts weight towards a more open and free indie-pop sound with a unique shoegaze finish.



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user ratings (740)
Chart.
4
excellent
other reviews of this album
Lewis P. STAFF (5)
You need to listen to this again....


Comments:Add a Comment 
mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
October 28th 2008


17920 Comments


beautiful piano melody ceases the song completely into the closing ballad



dunno what that means but otherwise good review

Kiran
Emeritus
October 28th 2008


6001 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Sweet, need to get this.

plane
Staff Reviewer
October 28th 2008


6094 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

i've really come around to this

DFelon204409
Emeritus
October 28th 2008


3995 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Ya I don't see what the big whoop is but there are some enjoyable sections.

IsItLuck?
Emeritus
October 28th 2008


4927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is stuck in the middle of a 3.5 and 4 rating.

jrowa001
October 28th 2008


8750 Comments


Crytograms was ok but i think id like this album more. im gonna get this soon

honourosis
October 28th 2008


63 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I've been meaning to download this for a while now. I found Cryptograms boring, but what i've heard from here I like.

ghostface30612
October 28th 2008


141 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Odd, because I found the placement of the songs to be impeccable. And by the way, guitarist Lockett Pundt sings the vocals for "Agoraphobia" and "Neither Of Us, Uncertainly." I'm pretty sure the beginning of "Twilight At Carbon Lake" is guitar and the only piano to be found is during "Green Jacket", the most intimate moment on the album.

If you liked this, check out the Fluorescent Grey EP. I might review this soon.This Message Edited On 10.28.08

sgrevs
October 28th 2008


698 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nice review. I like Cryptograms better, this hasn't really grown on me much since I've started listening to it like Cryptograms did.

brandtweathers
October 28th 2008


2007 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I don't see what the big whoop is
greer's away message

joshuatree
Emeritus
October 28th 2008


3742 Comments


haven't checked out this band really before, so i might have to do that

cbmartinez
October 28th 2008


2525 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

one of the best of this year I'd say, Deerhunter can do no wrong it seems like. Cryptograms was a fantastic album but on this one I think they really refined their sound and their songwriting skills are superb. Good review. You sure thats the right album cover though?

IsItLuck?
Emeritus
October 28th 2008


4927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ghostface, at the end of the track before twilight piano is definitely there and faded remnants continue in twighlight. also knowing cox does not sing those tracks explains a lot. thanks for the heads up

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
October 28th 2008


3771 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Hm, glad to hear this is even better than Cryp, although Isn't this a double album?

Digging: The Flaming Lips - With A Little Help From My Fwends

cbmartinez
October 28th 2008


2525 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ummm im pretty sure that's cox singing on agoraphobia

IsItLuck?
Emeritus
October 28th 2008


4927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

the bonus disc was a pile of poo in my opinion. plus it's called something else so I mean it's an entirely different album

brandtweathers
October 28th 2008


2007 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

always so relevant ryan
solid review

iarescientists
October 28th 2008


5863 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

albums good

Anodyne
October 28th 2008


85 Comments


i like this cover should i listne

Fort23
October 28th 2008


2475 Comments


I listened to like three songs off this and liked it. so there the album cover iscool



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