Deerhunter - Monomania

It all manages to feel so simple, yet no-one other than Deerhunter could produce an album quite like this.

Label: 4AD

Rating: 8

Monomania: when the mind becomes obsessively concentrated and fixated upon one special symbol of passion. Deerhunter may not be not running melodramatically across the Yorkshire moors wailing “Heathcliff, it’s me, Cathy, I’ve come home” (admittedly some slight embellishment there, but wouldn’t a bit of Kate Bush liven up Wuthering Heights?) but they still buy into a popular sort of hero, bound to his art. Chasing a singular aesthetic, ‘Monomania’ is a strange album of pop turned entirely on its head and scrambled through a triple encoder filled with cherry Coca-Cola. Deerhunter have laid a foundation of fuzz, and thereby hangs an absolute stonker of an album.

Bradford Cox is a musical monomanic – a term he used himself talking to Rolling Stone in 2011. Flitting between Deerhunter, Atlas Sound and various other side projects, music is almost his life-blood. When he’s not creating, it’s hard to imagine what Cox actually does, and you get the feeling he’s even plotting new post-punk riffery when he eats his morning Ready Brek. His incredible focus has paid off here. There’s a rich amount of texture and ambience on this record, but you’re so carried in the melody that you barely notice that everything is perfectly aligned like a winning game of Tetris. It all manages to feel so simple, yet no-one other than Deerhunter could produce an album quite like this.

Monomania is a difficult album to write about objectively, largely because within about two words, you are so enraptured you quickly start to make no sense. Various expletives of amazement come to mind, as do metaphors of almost embarrassing hyperbole. Deerhunter’s latest is very tricky to describe whilst remaining sensible and within normal scopes of reason. Even the band had problems, branding it a “mystery disc of nocturnal garage,” telling us it’s “avant garde but only in context not form.” The thing is, nonsense aside, they’re sort of right. Only a musician of the avant garde persuasion could mould this, yet in form, ‘Monomania’ is completely tangible. There is no code-breaking to be done, and it’s easy to immerse yourself instantly.

The best way to enjoy this album is to put it on as loudly as neighbours and speakers permit, and fall dangerously in love with it. ‘Monomania’ is an easy album to become monomaniac about.