Exclaim!'s Best of 2013: Top 20 Pop & Rock Albums, Part Two



7. Deerhunter
Monomania
(4AD)

Defined as "a pathological obsession with one idea or subject," monomania was the ideal word to title the sixth Deerhunter album. Frontman Bradford Cox has always exuded an obsessive personality, and what he clearly suffered from making Monomania was music-related; he reportedly tinkered with somewhere between 250 and 600 songs before trimming it down to a dozen.

Over the course of their six-year run that includes five full-lengths and two EPs, Deerhunter have refused to sound like just one band. To many, Monomania was Deerhunter's most fully-formed, fully-realized record yet. Eschewing the dreamier, shoegaze production and the avant-garde tangents, Cox and company attained a sound they fittingly described as "nocturnal garage." Channeling the likes of Bo Diddley and the Ramones, this savage and transformative rock'n'roll blitz came at an unlikely point in their career, as they were on the verge of disbanding after long-time bassist Josh Fauver departed.

Yet, led by Cox's enigmatically intimate words, Deerhunter charged through with a raw mix bolstered by the beatific and beastly "T.H.M.," the jaunty earworm of "Back to the Middle," the fucked up glam racket "Leather Jacket II" and the confrontational, punked-up title track. The intention may have been for Bradford Cox to illustrate his own monomania, but in the end, it was the listener who was experiencing it. (Cam Lindsay)