Deerhunter Monomania

Deerhunter have always sought to make uncompromising rock music that splits its time between atmospheric psychedelia, simple pop songs and anarchic noise. Frontman/main songwriter Bradford Cox controls the group's volatility via his ever-changing moods, musical tastes and eccentric direction. For sixth album Monomania, Deerhunter joined Nicholas Vernhes in Brooklyn, NY's Rare Book Studio, and the result is their rawest recording since their debut. Described as a "nocturnal garage" record, Monomania is volatile, yet also strangely Deerhunter's most coherent release yet, consciously exploring their vast spectrum of influences while venturing deeper into Cox's psyche. "Pensacola" is one-part Dylan, another part Sebadoh, chugging to a scrappy lo-fi sound, while "Dream Captain" fashions itself after the trashy glam of Royal Trux. "Back to the Middle" struts to a disco rhythm and "Sleepwalking" recalls the simple harmonies of '50s rock'n'roll. Deerhunter's distinction has always been Cox's deep, dark introspection as a lyricist, which takes the spotlight on the second half of Monomania, possibly describing a true, ill-fated relationship. As he closes out the record with the lamenting "Punk (La Vie Antérieure)," Cox speaks in a remorseful tone of yearning to "find some relief." Based on everything he's gone through over the past few years (nervous breakdown, erratic public behaviour, non-stop recording and touring), Monomania feels like that liberation. It's an intense, sometimes violent, occasionally beautiful rock'n'roll record that once again proves the unpredictability and reliability of Deerhunter. (4AD)