Review Summary: Deerhunter failed to make a memorable album because of two key things; too much experimentation, and overly excessive repetition.
Many people seem to have stumbled across Deerhunter through their 3rd album “Microcastle”. That album did an excellent job at blending amazing atmosphere, with memorable guitar lines, and dreamlike vocals. Sadly though, “Turn it up Faggot” is quite a rough start for Deerhunter. The band seemed to lack a lot of maturity, and just seemed to want to have fun making noise.
“Turn it up Faggot” is even more guitar driven than future Deerhunter albums. A lot of the tracks seem to lack any structure whatsoever, and the guitarists just focus on making as many weird sounds as possible. However, there are some tracks that showed potential. Take the track “Adorno”, for instance. It starts with a relatively interesting upbeat bass line and guitar riff, with equally upbeat drums. The whole song consists of repeating this same riff over and over, with slight variations here and there. The song doesn’t seem to go stale however, and if it weren’t for the overextended ending, it might actually be one of Deerhunter’s better songs.
A lot of this album tends to have sections that drag on for far longer than they needed to be. Tracks like the aforementioned “Adorno” as well as “Oceans” tend to be the guiltiest of this. However, the final song “Death Drag” takes all of the monotony and increases it 10 fold. The same riffs are repeated for what seems to be hundreds of times throughout the song, and when they finally do change to a riff that is actually interesting, they butcher it by repeating it once more for far too long. The ending of the track is very difficult to enjoy. An excessive amount of distortion is added to the vocals and guitars and blended into one big blob of feedback as Bradford repeats the song title over and over on top of it. It seems that Deerhunter didn’t try to write anything memorable in this song, and just wanted to combine as many random ideas that they could think of.
The album’s production is another thing that is quite lacking. The drums sound so dull and far back in the mix, although this is probably because they wanted to make the guitars the focal point. The vocals are greatly distorted throughout the album, and it is very tough to understand the lyrics because of this. On the plus side, the bass thunders along nice and loud with the guitars, adding a little variety to the very samey riffs that are played.
Overall if you are interested in seeing how Deerhunter started, or have an interest in really noisy guitars, give this a listen or even 2. Otherwise, just skip to the more polished and significantly more mature albums like “Halcyon Digest” or “Microcastle”.