Bradford Cox’s oversized persona threatens to overwhelm almost anything his band Deerhunter does. In concert, the singer/songwriter—who has Marfan Syndrome and is shockingly thin—often makes things bloody and uncomfortable. On his group’s blog, he battles music pirates and his own demons. But fans are wise to ignore the hype; almost two years after releasing the masterful Cryptograms, Deerhunter’s new Microcastle is equally stunning despite sounding almost completely different. Largely eschewing effect pedals and moving away from the dreamy, endless soundscapes that informed their earlier work, Microcastle features clean guitars and a poppy disposition.
The album’s tightly-coiled title track lurks quietly for a solid two and a half minutes before the drums kick in and it turns into a classic rock-style banger. “Nothing Ever Happened” maintains the rockin’ and rollin’ mentality, and the work as a whole should be immediately accessible for most listeners. There are still moments that feel like Dan Deacon DJ sets, but for the most part the songs are simpler and more focused. Call Microcastle the equivalent of Metallica’s Black Album. Though Deerhunter has risked alienating some of their core fans, most others will prefer this incarnation.