Since 2005, Bradford Cox and the Deerhunter boys have consistently released interesting and unique music. Whilst essentially they would fit into the indie/rock department of your local record store (if such a thing still exists) they have constantly shifted through genres like new outfits. Throughout their career they have moved through rock, phsyc, ambient, and those glorious shoe-gazing sounds that make them worthy of the 4AD signing.
But one thing that ties their back catalogue together is Cox’ unique mind and vision, that gives the band their own sound; a sound so indisputably their own. In 2014 it looked like their most recent release ‘Monomania’ could have been their last. Cox’ near fatal car accident put a question mark over the future of the band. But like all good men, he couldn’t be kept down. Just two years after the release of their previous album, the Georgian four-piece return with the release of their brand new album ‘Fading Frontier’; the band’s seventh. Lead single ‘Snakeskin’ was different to anything we had previously heard from the band. It is a big, ballsy and unashamedly rock n roll number, that made fans wonder whether the band were on the shift again. And of course they were. It is the sound of a band who never stand still, and never solidify. On hearing the rest of the album I wouldn’t say that the single defined the rest of the project. But where the where the lead single does tie in to the songs that surround it, is that is when everything else stripped away, is a great catchy pop song.
That’s right. Deerhunter have released a pop album; of sorts anyway. ‘Fading Frontier ‘ is the cool and credible album you would expect from the boys. It is however more upbeat than previous work, with more apparent pop hooks. It is probably the most instant thing they have released, and the pace and quality of tunage continues throughout the nine tracks included. Recent single ‘Living My Life’ is probably the most representative track of what the album is about. It is a chilled-out, wonky pop tune and sits comfortably after laid back album opener ‘All The Same’. Both of these tracks set the tone for what’s to come. But there are a few curveballs thrown in for good measure. I’ve already mentioned ‘Snakeskin’ which hidden toward the end of the album is till a bit of a highlight. It’s ‘Take Care’ however that gets my vote for the album’s greatest moment. The crazy is stepped up a whole new level on the next track ”Leather and Wood’. Complete with a host of creepy sound effects, it would sit comfortably on the soundtrack to a horror film. It is a synth-heavy, dreamy piece of music that stands out in the middle of the rest of the songs, and shows that they are capable of doing whatever sound they choose well. ‘Ad Astra’ is the big emotional track set to an eighties tinged electronic backdrop. It has an epic sound to it, which possibly would have been great as an album closer.
I’m sure long-lived Deerhunter fan’s will no doubt have strong opinions on ‘Fading Frontier’. But they have without doubt mixed things up and produced an album that fits comfortably into today’s scene. They are still without doubt one of the more interesting bands around today, and they are definitely not afraid to be experimental to remain current.
Deerhunter’s official site