Deerhunter – Why Hasn't Everything Already Disappeared? (4 stars)

Deerhunter – Why Hasn't Everything Already Disappeared?

Bradford Cox and co. present an album of psych-pop wonders

Georgia art-rockers Deerhunter return with their eighth studio LP. The band rose to prominence in the mid-2000s, on a wave of critical acclaim they shared with similarly-minded neo-psychedelia groups of the era. On this album, frontman Bradford Cox is joined by long-time bandmates Moses Archuleta and Lockett Pundt, alongside bassist Josh Mackay and new member Javier Morales.

A progression from the shimmering polish found on 2015's Fading Frontier, the new collection is imbued with the experimental pop sounds found on earlier work. Production-wise, the album sounds fantastic, with producers Cate Le Bon, Ben H Allen III, Ben Etter and the band all ensuring each note is heard. Balancing a range of instruments (harpsichord, sax, piano keys), the album also has a distinct band-in-the-room sound.

The album opens with 'Death in Midsummer'. Featuring a looping harpsichord accompanied by clear and crisp vocals from Cox, the track builds to a guitar solo that's more akin to the big-screen psychedelia of Tame Impala than anything from Deerhunter's past. Much of the album follows this blueprint, with hugely enjoyable psych-pop taking precedence over an evolution of the group's sound. The sixth track, 'Détournement', steers the album into more interesting territory, with its cascading synth lines, highly effected vocals and erratic drums. This sound is pushed further with 'Tarnung', but it's the final track, 'Nocturne', that finally pushes the band to new levels. Beginning with clipped vocals and subtle instrumentation, the track builds, adding more layers and glorious synth lines, evolving into one of their finest tracks to date.

In its best moments, this album recalls Bowie's Low, with its distinct two-halves structure, wilful experimentation and glistening Eno-esque production. At its worst, it presents the listener with a series of highly listenable psych-pop songs. Ultimately, this is another great Deerhunter album, and while not quite reaching the highs of their most experimental days, it shows they have no shortage of ideas.

Out now on 4AD.

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