With the addition of the group’s two new members—Athens’ Josh McKay, of Macha and Abandon the Earth Mission, and Atlanta’s Frankie Broyles, formerly of short-lived and underrated garage-pop group The Balkans—Deerhunter has become a leaner, meaner machine.
Though Monomania isn’t the explosive proto-punk album we thought it might be after seeing the group’s recent performance on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” where the band performed the album’s title track (a “grimy little number,” said bassist McKay), it is the most stripped-down Deerhunter record since the oft-disavowed Turn it Up Faggot days.
But where the band’s earliest material was self-consciously aggressive, these new tunes prove to be Bradford Cox’s most balanced yet. The production is lo-fi, yes, but it only highlights the fact that these songs need no adornment. The canny, dirty-pop tune “Pensacola” is like nothing the band has put forth before; Cox, who has always worn his influences on his sleeve, finally seems comfortable in his own skin.
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