Deerhunter has done it again. After four solid indie music albums that intrigued a faithful listening, their fifth and newest album, Monomania, has people following suit. Their sound itself may take some getting used to, as it diverges from the dreamy cantor of previous songs, but regardless: they’ve done it again. The five membered, “ambient-punk” (or perhaps now, “garage-rock”) band hailing from Atlanta, Georgia, and shepherded by lead singer Bradford Cox of Atlas Sound, recently put out twelve tracks, all of which are worth your time.
While the album on the whole has a grungier sound (particularly “Leather Jacket II," “Pensacola,” and even the title track) than fans anticipated, herein lies Deerhunter’s brilliance. When Halcyon Digest, the band’s fourth album, debuted after the longest break between studio albums, it became utterly magnetic. And still, it transports listeners into a nostalgic but honest reverie through the intensely unique and harmonious pairing of lyrics and instruments, including acoustic guitar, vocal harmonies, electronic percussion, and saxophone. This time around, the sheer quality and raw skill from previous tracks remain intact, but subtly slide into a repertoire of more diverse, and more importantly—accessible—songs. “The Missing,” being an ambient drift we expect and crave, “Back to the Middle," “Dream Captain,” and tracks alike, ultra easy to listen to in their simplicity, and “Monomania” somehow, in some remarkable way, striking the line between.
What can be made of the change? Monomania nods its head to the past punk rock classics so close to our hearts. It proclaims its American-ness. It tells stories. In doing so, it welcomes new ears, it offers itself to new venues, it asserts its way into our music libraries—our recent playlists. We weren’t expecting it, but we’ll gladly take it; meanwhile, we’re left wondering where Deerhunter’s next step could possibly take us.