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Monomania

Deerhunter

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Album Review

Before Monomania's release, Deerhunter described the album's music as "nocturnal garage" — an accurate, if somewhat elliptical, nutshell explanation of what Bradford Cox and crew (who include new bassist Josh McKay and additional guitarist Frankie Broyles) are up to on this set of songs. After Halcyon Digest's nostalgic haze and the fragile beauty of Atlas Sound's Parallax, it seemed that Cox was drifting further away from the rawness of his early days. He breaks away from this insular turn on Monomania — to a point. The album's first two songs, the unabashedly messy "Neon Junkyard" and riff-fest "Leather Jacket II," are the musical equivalent of blowing off steam after the more considered, delicate territory of Cox's recent past. It's not until "The Missing"'s chiming guitars and harmonies that Monomania offers something resembling Deerhunter's more recent output, and that song was written by longtime guitarist Lockett Pundt. Cox sometimes goes overboard with his fondness for abrasiveness, as on "Nitebike"'s over the top vocal posturing or the way the odd coughing/barking backing vocals shatter "THM"'s pretty reverie. More often, though, Monomania's willfully raw sounds adopt the tough persona and iconography of rock music with a capital R as shelter, like donning a leather jacket and a sneer as armor against life's hardships. Cox borrows Julian Casablancas' croak on "Pensacola" and Queen's lyrics on "Dream Captain," where "I'm just a poor boy from a poor family" is just one of the scruffy rock clichés that he celebrates. Deerhunter's more familiar introspection creeps into Monomania's "nocturnal" songs, where the band uses its dreaminess to channel the feelings the album's louder moments try to drown out. They do so especially well on the equally melodic and acerbic "Blue Agent" and the gorgeous "Sleepwalking," both of which examine the chasms between former friends and lovers with very different perspectives. The album may be most interesting when the band plays with its tough/vulnerable duality: the title track is a plea that sounds like it's on fire, while "Punk (La Vie Antérieure)" looks back on fearless days with tender acoustic guitars. At times, the album feels more meta than Deerhunter's previous music, a complex way of delivering songs that are often much simpler — on the surface, anyway — than usual. By turns raw and reflective, Monomania is about shaking things up; it's not as grand or cohesive as Microcastle or Halcyon Digest, but with repeated listens, its quick shifts in sound and mood feel more like different sides of the same coin than a split personality. Ultimately, it may be most remarkable for how easily Deerhunter can deliver catchy songs in any incarnation.

Customer Reviews

break yr neck

basically they're doing what the strokes wish they could, but far stronger and stranger like the stooges playing their instruments like they twelve year olds with lots of anger and rc cola.

Hungry Like the Deerhunter

This album feels like the bands batteries were recharged with plutonium after a fairly long Deerhunter layoff.
'Monomania', delivers a cohesive album, that moves me in a grittier way then some of there other sold to great albums, singles and extended plays do. Such as Micro Castle or Rainwater Cassette Exchange.
While I can nick pick and say that some songs or perhaps just parts of a song or two feel underdeveloped, to short, etc; the creative, catchy, unique and flat-out nonchalant-cool-swagger of this American record is exactly the way it is suppose to be. This is definitely a great direction after the very good, 'Halcyon Digest', No genre analysis need apply other then TRUlY alternative. They are too eclectic to be musically tight-cast like that. I wish i could write music on this level. (The production and engineering are stellar as well.
I feel this album compliments as oppose to copycats their influences.
Check it out/

Carlo Maltempi-

New Direction?

The track Monomania is totally raw and noisy. Is this going to define the sound for this album? Will the ambience be lost? One thing I noticed that there aren't any 7 min.+ songs like Desire Lines or Nothing Every Happened which are some of my favorite Deerhunter tracks.

Biography

Formed: 2001 in Atlanta, GA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Deerhunter are an experimental noise rock band from Atlanta, fronted by the compellingly odd singer Bradford Cox. Cox's vocal style blends vocal experimentation along the lines of Meredith Monk or Yoko Ono with a more direct and punky howl inspired by the Fall's Mark E. Smith. Cox is also a striking on-stage presence: the exceedingly skinny 6'4" lead singer has Marfan syndrome, a genetic disorder of the connective tissue that gives him abnormally long and spindly limbs. (The late Joey Ramone was...
Full Bio

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