Thursday, May 3, 2007

Walking the Plank with Deerhunter

So I kind of pissed all over Deerhunter's Cryptograms LP a few posts back in a fit of rage, but I have to admit that the slam was a little unfair because I actually started off really liking that record and still enjoy at least three or four songs from it. It's not terrible, not at all, just not as good as every music site would lead you to believe, and I'll still stand by my belief that at least half of it is unlistenable. I guess I was just upset with writers confusing the potential to be great with true greatness. Today, though, I speak to you with a belly full of crow as I play the band's new aptly titled Fluorescent Grey EP finds them reaching their potential, its four songs pretty much forcing me into loving this band I dissed only a few weeks ago. Deerhunter is messing with my credibility.
The EP was apparently written during the mixing of Cryptograms, and it's as if they discovered exactly what that album's strengths were and used them as a jump-off for every song here. That is, they thought, "hey, we're a really good band when we write songs and stuff, let's do that more often." Deerhunter are air-tight in sound and style: pristine, ambitious production harnessing a fluid mix of various genres of music popularized in Britain between '84 and '92. There's plenty of JAMC and MBV as you've likely already been aware of, and plenty of the stuff Martin Hannett would've drooled over, but there's also radio-ready pop straight from the Cure songbook ("Dr. Glass") and with the title track even some Pavementesque post-REM jangle. Remember the much-hyped, more-disappointing Creeper Lagoon? Well, here's what that band should have been.
Some of the ideas are re-hashed from the album's tracks, but here, they're mostly better. All four of these songs would've fit nicely somewhere on Cryptograms. So I have to ask why they decided to leave such nonsense on the record? Obviously some like it. Maybe I will understand it all better somewhere down the path. But I do know that Fluorescent Grey is helping me understand, and I'll take some more chances with these lads. Luckily Kranky have issued the LP and EP together onto one double vinyl package, so we can all choose our own Deerventure.

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