Published Oct 14, 2015Deerhunter return with less angst and urgency on new album, Fading Frontier, yet their music stays immediate and their lyrics visceral. There is a feeling resembling contentment on this album, at least musically. Lead singer Bradford Cox, who was hospitalized after being hit by a car late last year; he gets existential on "Living My Life," questioning why he chases the now "fading frontier" over gentle, burbling synth-pop structures.
The first few songs are characterized by buoyant melodies, joining together the voices of Cox and Lockett Pundt beautifully on "Breaker," whose jaunty indie rock juxtaposes more contemplative lyrics like Cox's "I'm still alive, and that's something." The urgency that characterized so much of Deerhunter's music returns in the insistent, pounding synths and drums of "Duplex Planet."
Cox's acerbic wit stands out on single "Snakeskin," its funky rhythm section supporting the proclamation that he was "born with the ability to talk." Lockett Pundt's contribution, "Ad Astra," is a shimmering synth number, and proves once again how integral his contributions are to the band. On Fading Frontier, Deerhunter focus on their ability as a band to hypnotize and confound, which make the explosive moments here stand out that much more. (4AD)