Sound Advice: Deerhunter with Jock Gang and Aldous Harding (Oct. 5)

Deerhunter brings fascinating, earworm-worthy Art Pop songs to Madison Theater.

click to enlarge Deerhunter - PHOTO: RYAN STANG
Photo: Ryan Stang
Deerhunter
Bradford Cox, frontman for the sonic explorers known as Deerhunter, is a unique guy. He does things on a different frequency, and he isn’t afraid to state his opinions about a variety of things, both on stage and off. Then there’s the fact that he looks as if he might have come from another planet — his long, reed-thin frame and large, often haunting eyes bring to mind a praying mantis in human form.

Best of all, the guy writes fascinating, earworm-worthy Art Pop songs. Deerhunter, which he formed in Atlanta with drummer Moses Archuleta in 2001, has released seven albums since its little-heard 2005 debut (the provocatively titled Turn It Up Faggot). The best of the bunch was 2010’s Halcyon Digest, a melody-infested fever dream that contains multitudes — a mini-epic that grows more beautiful and immersive over time. It’s a record on which it’s hard to make out what Cox is saying half the time, which allows his high-pitched harmonizing to accent the chord progressions all the more easily.

If Halcyon Digest is Deerhunter at its apex, the band’s most recent album, 2015’s Fading Frontier, is its most accessible, a welcomed entry point in a diverse discography that’s rapidly becoming one of the most interesting and vital of the new century.

The album’s centerpiece of sorts, “Living My Life,” is a gorgeous, elegiac number layered with electronic quirks and elegantly strummed guitars. Cox’s vocals and lyrics are delivered with newfound direction, as he sings about amber waves of grain and what seems to be pointed personal introspection (“Will you tell me when you find out how to conquer all this fear?/Will you tell me when you find out how to recover the lost years?/I’ve spent all of my time chasing a fading frontier”).

Fading Frontier is simultaneously nostalgic and forward-looking, the warmest and most intimate album Deerhunter has yet produced.

“This record feels to me like the first day of spring, where you go out and everybody’s happy and sitting on their stoops and walking their dogs and waving to each other,” Cox said of Fading Frontier in an interview with Pitchfork. “It happens once a year, after a brutal winter. It’s the day when you realize it’s not gonna be freezing forever, you’re not gonna be miserable forever. It’s a very special feeling.”

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