30 seconds into Deerhunter’s tense and delicate start of Halcyon Digest you get the distinct feeling that this is going to be a brilliant album, and it only disappoints a little. When the lighter, released and upbeat ‘Revival’ is followed by the slow and tormented ‘Sailing’ you get the impression that the whole album will flow like the stop/start beat of first track ‘Earthquake’. Throughout most of the songs there is an undertone of fuzziness, as though the American four-piece are playing next door and you are listening through the walls. This makes the whole album a little hard to place, and I’m not sure in what circumstances I would play it all the way through as one.
Having said that, Cox’s melancholy voice combines perfectly with the experimental background sounds in ‘Helicopter’ which is the standout track of the album. The whole song comes together beautifully to create a liquid like flow which means it is very easy to listen to. Another track to look out for is ‘Coronado’. In this song Deerhunter are reinforced with a brilliantly cool sounding saxophone dancing in the background. I found it impossible for myself to sit still even on the first listening, and the track seems to get better with every play. Again this uplifting song is followed by a hazy and slow end to the album in ‘He would have laughed,” lowering the listener’s emotions and bringing a steady finish to Halcyon Digest.
This effort probably betters the other three Deerhunter albums, but still you feel they can improve. The admitted motown influences that surface in some of their songs differentiates them from other bands, and gives them a welcome soulful edge. I can’t help but feel if they explored this further then this album would have been hard to beat.
Overall a good album which is certainly worth a listen.
From Sam Bond.