Deerhunter must have taken a “chill pill” before recording Microcastle, said Jill Menze in Billboard. Last year, this noise-rock band from Atlanta broke into the indie music scene with Cryptograms, a dreamy, drone-filled album penetrated by “a sort of raw unpredictability.” Where Cryptograms often seemed to wander astray, Microcastle harnesses the group’s ambient fuzzcapes to create songs of “eerie beauty and restraint.” Despite its predatory name, Deerhunter always seems to maintain a “bewildered fragility,” said Matthew Perpetua in Spin. Frontman Bradford Cox is a gangly, gentle creature who often comes across as “passive and exposed within his own songs.” During the Cryptograms tour, Cox took the stage wearing dresses, but here contains his colorful personality. On Microcastle, Cox seemingly “sacrifices himself for the sake of Deerhunter’s art,” said Marc Hogan in Pitchforkmedia.com. His penchant for pop from the 1950s and ’60s is still there, but the first voice we hear on this album is actually that of guitarist Lockett Pundt, as an instrumental opener dissolves into the serene lullaby “Agoraphobia.” Deerhunter keeps its restlessness under control on Microcastle, so that “even at its least structured it’s always more accessible” than its predecessor.
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