DEERHUNTER: Microcastle [Kranky]

After the breakout success of 2007’s Cryptograms, Deerhunter has expanded its sonic palette without sacrificing the innovation or excitement that’s polarized a small cross-section of the listening public. Building upon the melodic leanings of the Fluorescent Grey EP (also from 2007), the sweeping soundscapes on Microcastle show the Atlanta band embracing its grandiose ambitions, although never to the extent of being overstuffed or ostentatious. Rather, Deerhunter creates intimate moments that swell into something that feels much larger. “Agoraphobia” finds its narrator in a panic, whispering desperate pleas for a salvation that won’t ever come. Rather than accentuate paranoia and confusion with rage, singer/wunderkind Bradford Cox bellows his appeals with a detachment that’s equal parts ennui and hopelessness. Cox has utilized a similarly ethereal, stream-of-consciousness delivery under his Atlas Sound moniker, burying soft melodies in a bedroom aesthetic of hazy tape loops and samples. The constant fluidity here makes the album’s unpredictability seem grounded and cohesive instead of erratic. Here’s hoping Microcastle is the sound of a band just scratching the surface. []

Matt Siblo