Halcyon Digest (4AD)
Reviewed by Austin Powell, Fri., Nov. 5, 2010
DeerhunterHalcyon Digest (4AD)
"You can't take too long making up songs," reasons Bradford Cox at a near-whisper halfway through the frail "Sailing" on Halcyon Digest. That's an apt summation of the Deerhunter and Atlas Sound frontman's aesthetic. He's a bedroom pop provocateur, crafting meticulous neo-gaze confessionals with various levels of awkwardness and anxiety, masked accordingly in reverb and distortion. Like 2007's dualistic Cryptograms and the sprawling 2008 double album Microcastle/Weird Era Cont., there are two sides at work for his Atlanta quartet's fourth full-length and 4AD debut. Most of the album could pass as solo recordings, like the slow-motion slumber of "Earthquake!" and the girl group gauze of "Basement Scene," but that's balanced with more concise, full band selections that sound like half-remembered 1960s pop songs ("Don't Cry," "Revival," "Memory Boy"). The two exceptions are Jay Reatard remembrance "He Would Have Laughed" and "Helicopter," a dreamlike concoction of warbled beats, glistening acoustic guitars, and rare elegance. Both rank among Cox's finest. (Sunday, 6:50pm, Orange stage)
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