We may have a new movement to add to our musical lexicon. For now it will need to rely on its predecessors for definition and accept a “post”, but should we take the latest album from Atlanta quartet Deerhunter to be an indication of music to come, the post-gaze label (post-shoegaze) has potential to be very important. That’s not official – I’ll leave the nomenclature to the experts – but there’s been convincing talk that Halcyon Digest is a defining work, distinct from the thicker noise rock of Deerhunter albums past and equally as distinguished within popular music. Anyway, post-gaze could stick, who knows.
The album’s most explosive track, “Coronado”, best exemplifies Bradford Cox as a writer in flux as he sheds the ambient waves for a tighter jangle rock. We hear the pangs of youth and wiser regret, existential frustration, and the contempt for those who lack it – all consistent Deerhunter themes – now lifted behind bouncing bass and swing drums. The oozing sax holds the sonic weight in lieu of raging reverb and its mere existence signals some nod to a rootsier, more coherent era in American music (Cox noted he’d been listening to The Stones Exile on Main Street incessantly throughout the recording). Deerhunter steps out of the muck and shows us some much needed clarity.
“Coronado” is harsh and soulful. It’s chilling and it’s got brass.