Deerhunter - Fluorescent Grey [Kranky - 2007]Deerhunter are being touted as a part of the crop of latest "buzz" bands. I have to admit to you, dear reader, that I tend to be put off by the hype to a degree, although, I could, in fact, be contributing to it in some ways (however minor). When a band is trumpeted as the next big thing on a wide scale, more often than not I'm underwhelmed by the music because the set-up is unrealistic. Secondly, buzz bands frequently are simply competent genre bands offerring accessible music which lacks distinction or originality. So maybe I'm part cynic, part realist, but that does not mean I won't give a band a shot. After the hype dies down, and my expectations die somewhat as well, I can offer a realistic, objective opinion of the music these bands create.
I admit then that Fluorescent Grey is the first exposure I've had to the music of Deerhunter. The EP is around 16 minutes long, the perfect length for an introduction. Well, having written about being put off by the heaping of critical praise, I neglected to mention that sometimes it is deserved. The four songs here are somewhat psychedelic at times, yet there's a distant, cold feel to the music that reminds me a bit of Joy Division. There's a driving repetition to these songs which may very well draw comparisons to Sister-era Sonic Youth, and a bit of wavy energy which give it a tinge of My Bloody Valentine, but there's far more at play here.
The clean, disjointed edginess that runs through this entire disc, makes it a cohesive, at times disturbing release. The aforementioned influences are just hinted at, in other words, Deerhunter are onto something entirely of their own making. The lyrics, which dwell on death and acid trips among other things, are cold, stark and creepy. There's an isolated dislocation to these pieces which make them very compelling indeed. EP's are very often filler releases having one or two good tunes, and a couple of throw away tracks, but I'm happy to report that's not the case here. Fluorescent Grey stands by itself as a concise, well rounded effort. Can't wait to check out their back catalogue. Better late than never.Erwin Michelfelder