September 12, 2010

New Music: Deerhunter

Below, you'll find two tracks from Deerhunter's forthcoming LP, Halcyon Digest, out September 28th on 4AD. The word "halycon" refers to an idyllic period that's long past, a time of peace and happiness forever out of reach. Both songs stay true to this theme, but they do so via religious tropes. Deerhunter seems strangley at home in this sort of territory. Even with this kind of potential for easy irony (which is what becomes of most guitar-based indie music), they manage to create a beautiful but ambiguous synthesis between form and content. Whether or not these tropes are used in earnest, something profound gets across. And it probably has something to do with way Bradford Cox's introspective, androgynous vocals complement and blend into his band's enchanting walls of sound. As Microcastle proved for me over and over again, the music of Deerhunter is best thought of as a liminal experience.

The first is the official video for the band's second single, "Helicopter." In this song Cox laments his "cage," waits in vain for escape, and begins flirting with prayer. The saccharine harpsichord tthat opens the song provides a nice foil for the lush feedback of the chorus, and makes Cox's persona seem as tortured as ever.

Their first single, "Revival," (featured below) is a psych rock throwback sees Cox narrating a fairly straightforward religious conversion: "I'm saved, I'm saved / And oh, would you believe it? / On the third day / I felt his presence near me." The song allows for a comfortable beginning, but but before long it threatens "freedom," "lonliness," and "darkness always." Kierkegaard anyone?

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