Deerhunter : Monomania
“Finding the fluorescence in the junk” is the first line sneered by Bradford Cox on the new Deerhunter album and it sums up the qualities of this body of work well. Monomania is a well-timed change of tack for Deerhunter, sitting somewhere between the raw intensity of their near-forgotten debut Turn It Up Faggot and the lo-fi solo melodies of Cox’s Atlas Sound recordings. It’s a seamless run of dark but approachable songs originating from a grim period of heavy drinking and depression for Cox, interrupted by the abrupt departure of bassist Josh Fauver and then recorded with an invigorated new lineup.
Cox describes this as their ‘punk album’, though the songs aren’t as ragged and aggressive as this descriptor suggests. When you peel back the messed-up garage-rock exterior, which is at its most confronting on its first two tracks, Monomania is as much pop as it is punk. Cox even makes references to retro radio classics in Dream Captain ("I’m just a poor boy from a poor family”) and the album’s title track (“Send me an angel”).
Monomania’s self-conscious stripping back to bare essentials means less sidetracking into ambient meanderings or wild guitar wig-outs, but it retains the band’s playful genre-bending. Part of the back-to-basics agenda is relegating all of the lead vocals/compositions back to Cox, with the exception of Lockett Pundt’s comparatively mellow The Missing. Cox’s obsessive qualities, his very own monomania, result in his band continuing to defy expectations and deliver great albums, and this is no exception.
BY CHRIS GIRDLER
Best Track: Sleepwalking
If You Like These, You’ll Like This: Bedroom Databank Vols 1-3 ATLAS SOUND, Weird Era Cont. DEERHUNTER
In A Word: Trashy