Boomkat Product Review:
The prospect of living up to the incredibly high standards set by 2008's double-header of Microcastle and Weird Era Cont. would intimidate any band, but Deerhunter continue to defy logic with another fabulous album that taken as a whole is surely their finest work to date. While generally lacking the propulsion and barbed urgency of some of their prior efforts, Halcyon Digest feels like a more mature and in-depth long-player than anything the band have produced before, and in terms of both writing and musicianship Deerhunter have taken their craft to an altogether higher level. Lead single 'Revival' demonstrated just how much the band could pack into a two-minute song, loading the track with a feel that's part vintage, part futuristic, twanging through sixties-styled guitar and mandolin lines while humming electronics fortify the production. 'Memory Boy' is even better, dispensing chiming choruses and memorable melodic motifs as though it were the easiest thing in the world, while another highlight, 'Basement Scene' channels the spirit of The Everly Brothers' 'All I Have To Do Is Dream' for its wistful satire about the transience of hipster culture (eventually culminating in a closing mantra that seems to be: "In the blogs they know my name"). As much as Bradford Cox is likely to steal the headlines for this album, his sideman, guitarist Lockett Pundt is due some praise too; he authors the imperious 'Desire Lines', a kind of cosmic grunge piece that stretches its legs over a sublime six-minute-plus duration. The experimental edge is still very much intact here too, as confirmed by the psych-haze textures and machine beats of the marvellous 'Helicopter' which adopts some weird watery sampling and Durutti Column-esque guitars for a wholly unique aesthetic. Cox once again proves himself to be one of the more reliable lyricists in modern rock music, tinting the song with a matter-of-fact, terminal weariness that resonates beautifully: "No one cares for me/I keep no company/I have minimal needs/And now they are through with me." The final two tracks also warrant a mention, with the excellent 'Coronado' adopting a quasi-E-Street Band feel thanks to rampant sax soloing, before Jay Reatard tribute 'He Would Have Laughed' wraps the record with a colourful, sonically rich studio experiment. A truly exceptional album from one of the more notable rock bands of our age, Halcyon Digest comes with the highest of recommendations.