Since its 2007 breakthrough album Cryptograms, Deerhunter has always hit a niche between making multi-dimensional pop while including enough “noise” and reverb to gain an experimental credibility. Its eighth album sees the group from Atlanta, Georgia take another step towards pop — the songs are laced with beautifully repetitive synth and guitar melodies, which are held in place by propelling and gritty percussion. Greenpoint Gothic feels wondrous, almost innocent, in its simplicity. A sense of anxiousness has always defined the lyrics of singer and guitarist Bradford Cox, who voices a perpetual disconnection amid the album’s generally bright music. He sings about things like the inability to go back in time, lives without purpose, and the 2016 assassination of a British MP by a far-right nationalist. Deerhunter carry such dualities between music and lyrics easily: the group can keep the ear busy while simultaneously questioning the role of the artist — the role of living — in the Trump era. Yet the questions can feel tiresome because the band, by creating an album, already answers its own musings: make your art, do your work.
Originally published in The Australian.