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Deerhunter – “He Would Have Laughed” September 24, 2010

Posted by gwyoung in Music, Track Reviews.
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I really don’t want Deerhunter to become one of my favorite bands. This is mostly because I’ve seen Bradford Cox live in concert, and the dude’s kind of a whiny bastard. And even though I try not to let band member personalities get in the way of how I feel about the music (Vampire Weekend being a prime example), hearing him complain about the set for 20 minutes really rubbed me the wrong way and turned me almost entirely off of his Atlas Sound project.

But then, as if to spite me, he and his main band, Deerhunter, go ahead and release Halcyon Digest, a shimmery, delicious-sounding album about nostalgia and selective memory that is rapidly climbing my list of albums of 2010. It’s almost perversely good, with its tonality and instruments perfectly matching the feelings it aims to evoke, and now all of the sudden I realize I really like Deerhunter, not just for this album but also for their near-flawless Cryptograms and Microcastle, both of which I obsessed over in their own time.

And so, even though I detest Bradford Cox as a person, I can’t deny the fact that he’s an excellent musician. It just so happens that the best track off of Halcyon Digest, “He Would Have Laughed”, is the only one the rest of the band had nothing to do with (he recorded it in a separate session as a tribute to the late Jay Reatard), and it’s one of the most touching and memorable songs I’ve heard all year. The rest of the album is on the same order of magnitude of good, but this album closer in particular is deserving of listen:

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