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Deerhunter - Rainwater Cassette Exchange

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Artist: Deerhunter

Album: Rainwater Cassette Exchange

Label: Kranky

Review date: Sep. 25, 2009


It may not be quite fair or accurate to call Deerhunterís Bradford Cox the godfather of todayís lo-fi pop resurgence, but upon looking back, 2007ís Cryptograms appears destined to be one of those landmarks in dissonant pop. That the indie music world is now withstanding an onslaught of crusty pop Ė see Ty Segall, Wavves, even Sic Alps and perhaps the entire Woodsist labelís output Ė is at least partially attributable to that albumís influence.

With 2008ís Microcastle, Cox and crew took a slight turn and shined things up a bit, with a stronger emphasis on the pop side of things. While reviews have pointed out how restrained the album felt initially, thereís plenty of dramatic flair on display as well.

Rainwater Cassette Exchange, the bandís latest EP, is a slim 15 minutes and five songs. As such, itís hard to tell whether this represents where theyíre at right now or a simple placeholder. Dropping the word "cassette" signifies a less-polished affair than Microcastle, and the songs do indeed occupy a place midway between the bandís two Kranky albums. As a result, oddly enough, we get a terrific blend of pop and experimentation.

Those of us who miss Olivia Tremor Control will find much to like here, from the woozy Beach Boys title track to the fast-moving closer "Circulation." Creating dreamy pop that isnít bogged down in lethargy is a tricky business, but Deerhunter pull it off repeatedly. Often itís the choruses that, coming out of reverb-drenched verses, pull you into the dramatic peaks that provide the hooks.

Whether in the energetic, driving rhythms of "Disappearing Ink" or the unique, piano-led "Game of Diamonds,Ē the EP repays careful listening. The heavy-hitting drums of the former turn the typical pop song recording process on its head, almost deeming the pounding kick-drum lead status. The recurring theremin-like wail in the background of "Famous Last Words" adds an edginess that plays counterpoint to the vocals, recorded with an EQ that makes them feel naked and rough.

Most of all, these are songs that youíll remember, and want to return to. And at only 15 minutes, it leaves you wanting more, which is all too rare these days.

By Mason Jones

Other Reviews of Deerhunter

Cryptograms

Microcastle

Halcyon Digest

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Find out more about Kranky

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