Hailing from Atlanta, Georgia, the band Deerhunter was formed by lead singer Bradfox Cox, Moses Archuleta on drums, guitarist Colin Mee, and bass guitarist Justin Bosworth. After Bosworth passed away in a skateboarding accident, the band started to get serious and record material, recording Cryptograms in just two days, followed by a tour. With disagreements over scheduling and release, Mee left the group to be replaced by a serious of bassists over the next eight years, Whitney Petty, Josh Fauver, and now Josh McKay. Now on their seventh studio album, Fading Frontier was brought about after frontman Bradford Cox survived being hit by a car on December 4th, 2014, and was seriously injured and hospitalized. Cox had stated that, “the accident ‘erased all illusions’ and admitted that it was a definite turning point for him”.
What has been the staple sound for “ambient-punk,” the indie guitar melding sound of Deerhunter totally changes with the into to Fading Frontier. For one, I can understand the lyrics of Bradfox Cox, whose vocals are clear for maybe the first time in a Deerhunter record, and opening track, “All the Same,” as close to the genre of classic rock track 6-like records as possible. For those that choose to critique Fading Frontier, the biggest dilemma, which is pretty all around the board, is that the “ambient-punk” sound wall has become “digi-indie-pop,” which is what I think contributes to a major loss of their unique sound.
Most of the tracks, as nicely sounding as they are, could have given way to that “weird,” that Deerhunter so much owned on Microcatle and Weird Era Continued. Not that the tracks need to be indiscernible or as ambient-odd as Cryptograms, but that the last minute of most of the songs in the 4-5 minute could have easily become more “ambient-like,” like the Deerhunter we’ve known and love since Microcatle. I’m not saying we need a de-evolution of Deerhunter’s sound as a band, but more of a return to their originality.