6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Don't judge this by it's cover...,
This review is from: Microcastle / Weird Era Continued (Audio CD)
When did 4AD suddenly get its act together? It appeared to be a label living on its (admittedly very fine) history, bereft of new talent, endlessly re-issuing the same Pixies/Muses/Cocteaus material. Then all of a sudden a roster that includes many of 2008's finest; Bon Iver, TV On The Radio, Dept of Eagles and Deerhunter amongst others, signals a welcome renaissance.
Deerhunter's third album has been much anticipated by the US indie media, after the plaudits received for Cryptograms, their previous 2007 album. Microcastles is, overall, worth the wait. Deerhunter are on Kranky in the US but licensed to 4AD in the UK and their music is frequently reminiscent of the sound of both labels; there are fuzzy ambient swathes but there is also a real hazy pop sensibility at work, particularly on 'Nothing Ever Happens' and 'Never Stop'. Comparisons with fellow 4AD alumni such as the Breeders, Ultra-Vivid Scene and even A.R.Kane are valid.
Although it's not mentioned in the Amazon blurb above, Microcastles was initially issued with (and may well still include) an entire bonus album, Weird Era Count. The story goes that, following the leaking of Microcastles onto the internet, the band wanted to reward those fans who purchased it upon release, so recorded Weird Era Count, which was itself subsequently leaked onto the 'net. The bonus disc is impressive; not your usual collection of out-takes and unfinished ideas from the studio floor (In Rainbows CD2 anyone?).
For those wanting to hear more, the 4AD site is at the time of writing (December 2008) offering a free MP3 of album highlight 'Nothing Ever Happens'. Those wanting more of the same should definitely hear second album 'Cryptograms' as well as front-man Bradford Cox's 'Atlas Sound' album, also released on 4AD this year.
Overall I'd recommend Microcastles; the album does sag a little in the middle and the cover art is shockingly poor (worst 4AD sleeve ever?), but it certainly deserves it's place in my end of 2008 `Best of..." list.