Ever find yourself listening to Deerhunter and think, “Hey guys, lighten up?”
[su_pullquote align=”right”]”With dreamy melodies and bright instrumentation, overall it is Deerhunter’s lightest album to date.”[/su_pullquote]Well, that is exactly what they did with their most recent album Fading Frontier, in terms of music, at least. Don’t get me wrong, I love the dark, mysterious tone that usually haunts most of their work, but their seventh album is definitely a pleasant surprise. With dreamy melodies and bright instrumentation, overall it is Deerhunter’s lightest album to date. Believe it or not, the single from the album, “Snakeskin” might even tempt some of us to dance. Nothing too crazy of course, maybe just a little hip-pop here and there.
From just a music standpoint, the sound of the album is wonderfully solid and fun. “Breaker” is a song that when you listen to it, you can only feel good. The simplicity and light-heartedness of its chorus is stupid addictive, and since we know that Deerhunter is capable of creating something much more dark and disturbing, it’s completely endearing that they would make a precious little tune such as this.
However, lead singer Bradford Cox is known for contrasting melodies and lyrics. He often uses rather devastating stories to verbally express himself, specifically in “Helicopter” from Deerhunter’s 2010 album Halcyon Digest. While it is my favorite of their songs, it is a heartbreaking tale about a young male Russian prostitute committing suicide by jumping out of a helicopter. To compare, “Helicopter” is beautifully unsettling, whereas with Fading Frontier, the distinction between the lyrics and music is more alarming because the melodies are fairly upbeat and carefree, opposed to the disturbing lyrics. “All the Same” makes a statement on the conflicts of transgender relationships, mentioning a man who, “Changed his sex and had no more, no more wife, no more kids,” over a driving, rocking beat that conflicts with the message.[su_pullquote]”While it is my favorite of their songs, it is a heartbreaking tale about a young male Russian prostitute committing suicide by jumping out of a helicopter.”[/su_pullquote]
The tragic storylines that emanates through some of their work is still experienced in this album, just executed differently. For example, “Duplex Planet” is a song I would blast in my car with the windows down, allowing myself to be engulfed by its wicked harpsichord, ignorantly jamming with my friends to lyrics about death and forgetting those who have passed. You find yourself singing along to, “After the body’s gone, the scent remains” and you have to stop and really think about what you’re listening to. Discovering this information transforms a listener’s perspective of Deerhunter’s music, and the complicatedness of it all draws its followers in. You almost feel wrong for enjoying their music, as if you’re getting pleasure from someone else’s pain, and I think that conflict is what separates the band from many of the alternative rock groups we have today.
Fading Frontier was released Oct. 16 through 4AD