Published Jan 27, 2017Common Deer are a group of talented multi-instrumentalists writing lush, beautiful indie pop that's almost orchestral in its layers and use of strings. The virtuosic yet smooth bass playing and the crystalline guitar tone stand out, but the fluidity of their sleek, progressive arrangements keeps things engaging.
While they've got oodles of talent and good production on their side, the one area that could use some improvement is the lyrics: at times they're a little trite, and occasionally get mired in dramatic but overly vague emotion. The frequent repetition and simple rhymes in "Confession (I Should Have Known)" hint that Common Deer might be trying too hard to write a successful pop song. Those who idealize extended adolescence might really connect with "Settle Down" but those who find the trope of 'settling down' a bit tired or simplistic in its dichotomy between 'boring job' and 'dream job' might be underwhelmed.
There are some really well-written songs too; they're the ones that eschew attempts at bland universality in favour of something more idiosyncratic. "Damages" is captivating, with the early line "I think you might have a violence like mine" drawing listeners in closer. It unfolds with painfully lucid lines like "I know you still think of her from time to time," compounded by more metaphorical ones like "the rivers that surround us have been drowning me for months." Another highlight is "Feather and Bone," which seems like a poetic indictment of the commodification of personality.
Overall, Common Deer sound great and they show a lot of promise for the future. If they keep playing to their strengths and don't underestimate their audience's appetite for complexity, they should flourish. (Independent)