I am an avid fan soccer fan. Anyone who knows me well knows that I am passionate about the sport and I can usually be found making bold claims that go against the general consensus. I usually remain committed to these “bold” opinions (such as Wayne Rooney is not even in the top 20 players of the world) and I tend to get a lot of hell from people. After going through Deerhunter’s new album, Halcyon Digest, I can confidently say that it’s good… but it’s not that great. Enrique, my friend, prepare yourself for the backlash.
I want to clarify something before you get all worked up and shaky in your little boots: I do not think this album is trash. Actually, it’s quite the opposite. At its worst, it can get pretty boring. At its best, Halcyon Digest has a lot of brilliant moments. It’s a solid indie album that starts off somewhat boring, but engages the listener in its later stages. If you are a Deerhunter fan because they are never afraid of changing, then you might enjoy this album. However, this album sounds more like Bradford Cox’s music as Atlas Sound. Even though there are a few faster, upbeat songs, the general feeling you get from this album is that you are becoming hypnotized by swirling ambient sounds while Cox serenades you in a very calm, sleepy tone.
The album begins with the spacey and dreamy ballad, “Earthquake,” inevitably reminding me of Animal Collective’s music, where it sounds more like an actual journey than a song. The album continues with a few tracks that offered nothing particularly offensive, but I didn’t find them too exciting. The album’s somewhat boring start is picked up by “Memory Boy.” The album remains consistently better, until it reaches the album’s masterpiece: “Helicopter” is a gorgeous, hazy, dreamy song that blew me away. Easily one of the most beautiful songs I have heard all year. The album never has a moment as epic as that one, but it remains consistently good. The final song, “He Would Have Laughed” has something captivating about it. I’m not sure if it’s the lethargic vocals that remind me of Avey Tare’s better moments, the repetitive beat, or both, but it was one of my personal favorite songs on the album. I am glad Deerhunter didn’t end the album any other way.
As you can tell from my comments, I actually appreciated many things about the album. However, from what I had heard, I was expecting a life changing, groundbreaking or extremely influential album full of things I had never heard before. It honestly isn’t. It is a good listen and I do recommend you give it a listen. It is definitely an album I will keep and definitely plan on going back to. However, be cautious of all the hype surrounding it.
–Enrique Lemus, host of Moose Trax, Monday 10pm-12am