Deerhunter camouflaged

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Some records, if they don’t fit a certain mold, are difficult to appreciate, and therefore go unnoticed by the mainstream.

It’s hard to classify Deerhunter. They’re kind of indie, kind of not. Kind of alternative rock, kind of not. Kind of folk, kind of not (but more folk than any other genre).

Deerhunter likes to straddle the middle ground, but they’re still somehow weird.

Deerhunter stands in an awkward place between indie buzz and obscurity, but  their new album may launch them into the upper echelon.

This is not a sleight to the new album at all. “Halcyon Digest,” like their previous albums, is spectacular. It’s received significant attention from critics and is doing well on college charts. For instance, Deerhunter is number four on the University of South Carolina’s radio chart and the album also made Florida State’s New Top Five list.

But no one is as excited about it as they were for new releases from other indie bands earlier this year — strange, because “Halycon Digest” has received the same or better scores than most of the recent top indie releases, which have gotten really good reviews too.

It’s important to note that Deerhunter’s previous two albuns have received similar critical praise. Deerhunter proves they’re just as capable of producing beautiful moments with songs like “Earthquake” and “Helicopter” as more mainstream bands.

“Earthquake” is especially notable for its slow swoon into a majestic soundscape of ebbing guitars and Bradford Cox’s gentle voice building to a gradual but cathartic release.

“Helicopter” sounds lonesome, but the kind of blissful loneliness where you just sit in silence during a long car ride with friends.

The fact that Deerhunter conjures such an image is indicative of their ability to create beautiful and complex songs.

Deerhunter is also capable of making hit–worthy songs.

In “Revival,” the band somehow compacts what feels like  a six–minute piece into just over two minutes. It’s an awesome song that constantly  drives with a funky indie/folk melody and rhythm.

“Coronado,” too, just plain rocks. It’s a fun song filled with jazz sax and toe-tapping goodness.

The album as a whole is great and deserves to be called one of the best indie albums of the year.

So, then, why has the buzz about “Halcyon Digest” been so tepid?

Deerhunter has done cool and innovative things like the bands noted above, but they do it in a muted way. T

he music is good but it seems to lack the attention-grabbing dynamics of music from bands like Arcade Fire and LCD Soundsystem.

Deerhunter is stuck in the awkward middle, perhaps because they straddle so many genres in such a muted way.

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