Take pop sensibilities and hooks, layer in an overwhelming sense of gloom and doom, and toss in the slightest glimmer of hope.
Throw all that together, and you have Deerhunter’s newest album “Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared?”
Deerhunter, the revered noise rock outfit led by frontman Bradford Cox, came back after four years with its eighth studio album. The newest project contains the essential Deerhunter blend of noise and experimentation, but presents it in a new, more mature way.
The newfound style of the album can be heard in the layered, diverse instrumentation throughout the record.
The group, known for their raucous sound on previous albums, decides to embark into the territory of baroque pop, taking influence from acts like Love and the Zombies all the way to Vampire Weekend.
The songs have an airy feel to them, but all of them have an overarching sense of dread and despair that looms over every verse and chorus. This concept is ever-present throughout each song, but none more than “No One’s Sleeping.”
This track makes listeners bob their head lightly and imagine themselves in a sunny meadow with their significant others laying next them, both not having a single care in the world. But once said listeners slightly think about the tune’s context, they suddenly fall headfirst into an abyss lined with nihilism and nostalgia for a simpler, seemingly happier time.
Over the sound of horns, drums, and keyboards, Cox calmly — yet eerily — delivers lyrics “In the country / There’s much duress / Violence has taken hold / Follow me / The golden void.”
Yet, there are songs that attempt to bridge the gap of glee and gloom, but miss the mark barely or almost entirely. “Détournement” feels like a dumbed-down, baroque pop version of the Nicene Creed, which completely throws the listener for a jarring loop.
However, the album then corrects itself with its next track, allowing the listener to continue delving into Cox’s world of sound.
Rock music is no longer the zeitgeist; the genre has fallen out of the mainstream only to be created by and listened to those who seek it. In order for rock to get back to where it once was historically, the genre needs acts who can throw away the cheesy rock clichés in favor of open experimentation and innovation. Deerhunter, with this latest album, did just that and then some.