Deerhunter – Fading Frontier

Deerhunter’s new album, Fading Frontier is a great soundtrack to washing the dishes when you can’t stop crying. I don’t want to get into it, but yeah. That’s verified truth.

According to my sweetheart, “It actually sounds like real music,” which is true. This is Deerhunter at their most domestic. It’s a very comfortable album. I’ve been enjoying it, top to bottom. But nothing off it has really captured me. Nothing feels transcendent or perfect or heartbreaking, and that’s too bad, because I know Deerhunter can do that. I still really like this album, they’re one of my absolute favorite bands, and this is absolutely solid. But it isn’t their best. There aren’t any absolute “wow” moments, just a whole album of good enjoyable songs.

I was struggling to explain why I find Fading Frontier lacking, and actually went back and listened to both Microcastles and Halcyon Digest for comparison. It might be something about the rhythm, the groove of the album as a whole. Fading Frontier ambles along quite pleasantly, but it never clicks into something really marvelous.

It’s a very comfortable album. That’s the word I keep coming back to: comfortable. There’s nothing wrong with comfortable, and after following Deerhunter and Bradford Cox, I’m happy there’s some comfort in their lives, but I’m not sure if that’s what I want from an album. Deerhunter are one of my favorite bands, they’re already comfort music to me, in all their odd shapes and tangents. I even found the ramshackle Monomania quite comfortable, in all it’s lo-fi garagey glory.

This is probably the Deerhunter album that my parents would object to the least, but I’m not sure if that’s a point in its favor. I have loved Deerhunter for their balance of experimental sounds and beautiful pop moments. I love them because they can surprise me. This album is downright friendly, which isn’t inherently bad, but strange.

Maybe I just need to listen to it more. Right now the songs are still indistinct, which could be because it’s a fairly unified album, but I could listen more closely. I could see this growing on me. I already enjoy it, maybe time will bring it to another level.


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