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Deerhunter - Rainwater Casette Exchange


Rainwater Cassette Exchange


Deerhunter’s strong quality streak continues with Rainwater Cassette Exchange, a bright little EP that serves as a fine afterthought to the band’s excellent 2008 LP, Microcastle. It’s still a progression for the band, but Rainwater is firmly in line with their recent efforts, and is more of a strut into new territory than a dash. But as with Microcastle, the straightening of their ghostly, madcap sound and the trapping of it into pop remain very rewarding.

For all the quality, there’s not much quantity; even for an EP, Rainwater is brief. None of the tracks overstay their welcome and, seeing as most are hinged on just a few chords, keeping near the two-minute mark is a good idea. Such simplicity may imply stagnation, but this isn’t the case. The band continues to shine within simple confines, with great hooks and melodies, and burn brightly with what has always been their secret weapon—an excellent sense of mood.

The hazy calypso of the title track works perfectly with Cox’s ballad of love’s destruction. And the way he disaffectedly croons “destroy my mind and my body,” as if he’s ordering a starter at Denny’s, is further reason why he’s one of the most interesting frontmen around. The title track isn’t the only one with its own distinct flavor. “Famous Last Words” adds an eerie edge to its Motown longings by using a Theremin (those bizarre electronic instruments used in early horror films), while “Game of Diamonds” uses a mix of Eastern drums, atmospheric organ and piano, and acoustic guitar to create a great patchwork of styles.

This all leads to the EP’s final and finest track, “Circulation.” At five minutes, the song seems like a giant among its peers, and at its start, it quite resembles them with a brisk, simple riff. But about half way through, the song splits open with a starry-eyed coda, filled with otherworldly keyboards and an ‘I am the Walrus’ like sound collage of a channel-flipping, unwatched TV, that gives a wonderfully dramatic flair to EP’s closing. Still, there is the general feeling that the band are set on their own rails, and even if where the track is taking them is enjoyable, there’s no telling where they could go if they broke their conventions a little more. But that’s for the next LP to decide, and for now, Rainwater Cassette Exchange provides a clever little nugget of everything Deerhunter does best.

geoffrey anstey

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