Boomkat Product Review:
'Dragging A Dead Deer Up A Hill’, originally issued by Type in 2008, saw Liz Harris’ now much-loved project take a leap from the filtered, tape-fuelled obfuscation of her earlier releases into the sort of smudged dream-pop soundworld she's now best known for. Trust us when we tell you that - before this record came out - we struggled to sell Grouper albums no matter how much we loved them. This album changed everything.
'Dragging A Dead Deer...' is far more resonant and upfront about its songs than any Grouper material that preceded it. Opening track 'Disengaged' offers a segue of cloudy, amorphous output into a mass of mesmerising magnetic hiss and soft noise, before Harris' guitar and voice finally emerge, reverberant and phantom-like, and yet - finally - comprehensible.
If you've previously struggled to make out Grouper lyrics, 'Heavy Water/I'd Rather Be Sleeping' offers a way in. Those dense recording techniques had become a unique production signature to the extent that it was virtually impossible to separate Harris' creative identity from that uniquely ghostly sound of hers. But on 'Dragging A Dead Deer...’ it felt like a conduit to her songs, rather than a barrier.
There are echoes of earlier work too, on the wordless atmospherics of 'Wind & Snow', but the overall impression is one of inspired creative renewal, and the unveiling of a songwriting talent that was previously content to dwell in the shadows, deflecting attention with smoke and mirrors.