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Deerhunter enters new territory on ‘Why Hasn’t Everything Disappeared Already?’

Image from DIY Mag
Image from DIY Mag

Deerhunter may not ring a bell to the common music listener but, in  the Indie music world, the band brings something new to the table with  every release. Each album is something different from psychedelic rock,  to alternative, pop, garage rock, and straight-up indie. The band broke  new ground in pop-rock with 2010’s Halcyon Digest, a beautiful  pop album with a wide soundscape and captivating hooks. However, that  sound would not last forever—not even for another album. In 2013,  Deerhunter turned up their amps and plugged in their fuzz pedals for Monomania,  which is exactly what it sounds like, but with Deerhunter hooks. The  point is: the band is always doing something different with their  discography. It was no surprise that they would bring new sounds to the  table with Why Hasn’t Everything Disappeared Already?, but the real surprise came in the lyrics and structures. On Disappeared, Deerhunter  creates beautiful soundscapes that are complimented by melancholy  lyrics. However, the songs themselves aren’t entirely memorable.

Beautiful instrumentals with plenty of variety

One thing that Deerhunter always gets right is their instrumentals.  The opener, “Death in Midsummer,” sets the tone for the album perfectly.  The harpsichord gives the song a vintage vibe along with the drums and  bassline. What’s so great about this track is how satisfying it is when  the full band comes in and plays along with the harpsichord. Many  moments on Disappeared have this effect: “No One’s Sleeping”  has two instrumental breaks that build up continuously until finally  coming back down for the verse. “What Happens to People?” has lush  pianos that glisten in the forefront of the melody, and when the  woodwinds slither in on “Tarnung,” chills crawl down my neck. Each song  on the record has a different sound that creates different vibes. One  song that sticks out from the rest due to this, is “Plains.” The rest of  the record has a beautiful, yet lively atmosphere, while “Plains” is a  funky bop full of layered synths.

Deerhunter often tries to put the listener into a trance-like state.  Gorgeous synths provide stable ground for a poem on “Détournement.”  Sweeping woodwinds and a slow choir on “Tarnung” could be enough to pass  as a lullaby—and not in a bad way. “Greenpoint Gothic” feels like I’m  on a spaceship making a getaway to a vacation planet with its fun  synths, pretty piano melody and steady drums keeping it all in place.  The best part about this record, and many other Deerhunter records, is  the instrumentals. The music here is imaginative, fun, and very moving.

Imaginative lyrics

Many of the lyrics on Disappeared have a vibe of impending  doom and destruction. “Death in Midsummer” tells a story of workers who  cannot make a living working in factories, “Some worked in  factories/worked their lives away.” The song “No One’s Sleeping” is  loosely about the murder of British politician Jo Cox, while discussing  the violence in the world. Fortunately, the dreary lyrics fit well with  the instrumentals, especially on songs such as “Futurism” and “Element.”  One very cool moment in the record is on the song “Détournement.” The  song acts as a spoken word poem, but the voice is distorted and lowered,  making it a really interesting listen. The lyrics on Disappeared feel  imaginative and well-crafted. They feel fresh as if they weren’t meant  to be in a certain structure. If there is any line that fits the album  perfectly, it’s: “The wind was stained/Orange clouds fade up for a toxic  view.”

Lacks staying power

It may seem like I’m holding this album up as perfect, but it’s not.  While the gorgeous instrumentals are the best thing about the record,  they don’t make the album entirely memorable. I listened to the album  about 10 times, and only a couple songs stood out to me, those being  “Death in Midsummer” and “Plains.” The rest of the album just floats  along, especially the closer, “Nocturne.” The song starts off really  sluggish and gets better with time as the band comes in. Disappeared has  many highs, but not enough to make every song a standout. However, this  is a very tiny nitpick. I found that the album grew on me each time I  listened to it, despite not being memorable at first. 

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Animal Collective

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Top Tracks:

“Death in Midsummer”


“What Happens to People”

Featured Image: DIY Mag

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