Even after four Deerhunter albums, it’s hard to claim that you know exactly what their next effort is going to sound like. And on Monomania, Deerhunter’s fifth album, that rings true again. After the huge success of their last album, Halcyon Digest, Deerhunter drops the electronic aspects and returns to their roots for a raw garage rock sound, filled with squalling, thrashing guitars while still staying true to their own well developed sound. With more energy and attitude than any of their previous albums, Monomania is at once both familiar and fresh and the result is exhilarating. This is Deerhunter’s most accessible album to date, with many tracks catching your attention immediately and refusing to let go.
Monomania begins with a ruckus that almost sounds like a different band entirely, especially “Leather Jacket II”, an album highlight that combines an insanely catchy hook with raw screeching guitar noise. It isn’t until the third track, smooth and quiet relative to the album openers, that Monomania starts to sound like a Deerhunter album. “The Missing” acts as this album’s “Agoraphobia”, a track that shows the dreamier side to Deerhunter’s music, but it is quickly interupted by “Pensacola”, a Dylan-esque rock romp and one of the best tracks on the album. It’s aggressive, loud, catchy and fun to listen to, a quality that Deerhunter’s music has mostly lacked previously.
The mid-section of Monomania is a collection of mellow tunes that range from solid to great. “Dream Captain” is instantly accessible and “T.H.M.” has one of the catchiest and most satisfying break-downs that Deerhunter has ever made, especially when accented by the staccato breaths at the end. The title track begins with a screech of feedback and ends with thrashing, squalling guitars creating a wall of sound that dissolves into the sound of a motorbike starting. This leads directly into “Nitebike”, a ballad featuring only heavily reverbed vocals and an acoustic guitar, which offers a nice respite from the onslaught of guitar noise at the end of “Monomania”.
This album serves as a step in a new direction for Deerhunter, who sound like they’re having more fun making music than they ever have before. It contrasts so extremely from Halcyon Digest, that one can’t help but appreciate the diversity of sounds that Deerhunter is capable of pulling off. Monomania is energetic, brimming with attitude and a truly solid album from a band that has yet to make a bad record.
Highlights- “Leather Jacket II”, “Pensacola”, and “T.H.M.”
RIYL- Atlas Sound, Lotus Plaza, Ty Segall
Check out our full album stream via Spotify below: