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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Halcyon Digest

Deerhunter

2010

Buy At Rough Trade
Halcyon Digest
Album Summary

Halcyon Digest is the fifth studio album by American indie rock band Deerhunter. It was released September 27, 2010 to universal critical acclaim. It was the band's first album distributed solely by 4AD worldwide (previously 4AD only handled overseas distribution while Kranky handled it within the U.S.) The album was produced by the band and Ben H. Allen, and was recorded at Chase Park Transduction studios in Athens, Georgia with engineer David Barbe. The final track, "He Would Have Laughed" was recorded separately by Bradford Cox at Notown Sound in Marietta, Georgia and is a tribute to Jay Reatard.It is the band's last album to feature bass guitarist Josh Fauver.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.06

Votes

11987

Genres

  • Rock
  • Indie
  • Shoegaze

Reviews

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Fri Oct 09 2020
2

Here's a band I didn't know anything about prior to today. Very indie. I was in a band once that had this same indie feel and I wonder now if the guitarist/singer was a fan. The first track sets the tone for the album in an unfortuate way. It's a 5-minute mishmash of rhythmic noise, sulky guitars, and shoegaze vocals. While the album does pick up from time to time, the rythmic noise elements and shoegaze vocals remain constant irritants. These lyrics are so far into their own navel that they can see their backbone. The album is self-indulgent and self-important to the point that it loses all connection to the audience and listening to it begins to feel uncomfortably voyeuristic. That said, the album is saved from a one-star by the fact that there are a few tracks that still manage to connect and because the recording production is top-notch. It really is very well produced. But you can only polish a turd so much. No matter how shiny it is, it's still crap.

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Sun Feb 07 2021
5

Does this bump in the whip? No. Does this make me stare out onto the road, my skin itching as I slowly drive into the gray amorphousness that swallows me, suspending me in space while time is slowed to the point where I can feel each millisecond seep into my skin, settle into my bones before it slides up my throat as I croak out the melodies to these songs, my body stretching forward as I feebly try to make contact with my loved ones, who sit just outside of this slow-time and no space as the grayness slowly digests me, breaking down each of my memories until I the only things that occupy my minds are the words to these songs? Yes. 
 This music seems to have its own temporality, like a voice is reaching out from somewhere I’ve never been, but somehow know, a nostalgia that feels more like an eerie horror than an old home. From the off-kilter percussive throbbing of “Earthquake” to the murmuring introduction of “Sailing” to the moaning that punctuates the beginning of “Basement Scene”’s chorus to “Helicopter”’s clacking which seems to rebound into itself, so much of this album feels like it is enlisting me into its own slanted rhythm, a rhythm just off beat with mine. At certain moments, it feels like I’m touching a time completely different from mine, not in the sense of a past or future, but a different sort of present, a present that moves slower, labors over every moment. Even the faster songs, like “Don’t Cry” and “Revival” and “Desire Line”, feel disjointed, feel like a world of their own. The closing song seems to me to sum up the whole of the album in its final seconds, which simply cut away just as it feels that the song is building to a conclusion, a demonstration that the music is ever so slightly distended, just a shade out of sync, recorded in a margin of time that suddenly closes itself off before we get the chance to hear what the music is fading towards. A beautiful album. 9/10. Fucking incredible.

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Fri Nov 26 2021
1

Oh my god. I don’t know how I’m supposed to get into music that sounds like the musicians are bored out of their minds even while making it. There are two tracks that DON’T do this and they’re nothing special.

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Sat Oct 09 2021
2

Hello! Feminist Killjoy here... I spent a lot of this listen making a mental list of some of the female artists that I hope are coming up. (We've been listening for a month and we've heard exactly one.) So, while this album wasn't unpleasant to listen to, it had me wondering if maybe Deerhunter's dad was on the judging panel? And this isn't to say I think they're bad. If they lived down the street and played the local clubs, I'd think they are awesome. I'd be super proud of them for making stuff. But I found most of this unremarkable in the grand scheme of music and I can't help but wonder who was passed over to include it in the 1001. My rating of them is low perhaps because I'm mad at the list-makers of the world. Songs I enjoyed: Earthquake, Desire Lines, He Would Have Laughed. (And I've listened to these three several times now and like them more each time. I'm glad I've heard them. They are good.) Song I actively disliked: Basement Scene

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Mon Jan 18 2021
3

a pretty standard indie rock album, nothing revolutionary.

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Tue Feb 02 2021
4

I liked this one way better than most of the others. It sounds like someone left a Weezer or Sonic Youth album out in the rain for a week. It just SOUNDS filthy which is neat.

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Sat Oct 09 2021
2

This couldn't be more hipster indie if it were wearing flannel and suspenders, a pork pie hat, and a ridiculous beard while drinking an IPA and planning a cross-country road trip. No, thank you.

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Wed Apr 07 2021
3

Listened to this several times. Like some individual tracks by them but doesn't do a whole lot for me really. Favorite track is the last one. I like some of their more recent albums more.

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Wed Nov 04 2020
5

I dug it. Definitely leans heavily alt/indie, but there was some nostalgia in it as well, at times reminding me of the more diverse Beatles albums.

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Wed Jun 09 2021
5

Fucking amazing indie rock. A good portion of distorts and effects while maintaining the melodic strum of the guitar in the calm of the storm. Good vocal parts where it just feels right. Psychedelic rock like the old days.

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Fri Jan 15 2021
5

This is right up my alley. Like a good indie movie soundtrack or something.

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Fri Feb 19 2021
5

beautiful album. Very much of my taste. Glad I listened to this one all the way through

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Sat Jun 05 2021
5

From what I heard, this was so atmospheric and intense and nice in an odd way. My favorite Deerhunter sound so far!

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Fri May 14 2021
5

I love it. Great album. While I would say that all of these tracks are highlights, the highlights of the highlights are: 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, and 10.

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Wed Jun 16 2021
5

This was my favorite album of that year.

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Sun Oct 03 2021
5

Mellow songs, catchy vocals and crisp tones. Definitely stands out as a distinctive and enjoyable album.

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Wed Dec 29 2021
5

Great album. Really enjoy pretty much all Deerhunter up through this album. Desire Lines was one of my favorite songs from this era. 5/5

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Tue Feb 23 2021
4

Highlights - Revival, Sailing, Desire Lines Halcyon Digest piqued my curiosity from the get-go, establishing a sense of wonder. It settled on a shoegazer-like, progression of dreamy and foreboding, reverb-heavy guitars...Revival is a strong, upbeat number that can be found at home in vintage clothing shops and hipster bars that sell $8 pitchers of PBR. Sailing is an auditory achievement that obviously takes the listener on a sailing trip conveyed by samples and the artist's drifting vocals. It's clear Deerhunter draws inspiration from low-fi pop acts such as Stereolab and Lush (Is it coincidence that Lush and Deerhunter both have different songs called \"Desire Lines?\")

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Tue Feb 02 2021
3

Spacey (in a good way, not a Kevin way). 5/10

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Thu Jul 22 2021
3

It's an alright album, definitely feels like something to put on during a come down period.

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Fri Sep 10 2021
3

I first listened to this album around 5 or 6 years ago. I didn't like it and I don't remember why. Perhaps it sounded a little too 'indie' for me. Perhaps I wasn't in the right mindset. I never checked anything else out by them and always thought of them as the bad Deerhunter (as opposed to The Dear Hunter, a band that I love). Today I enjoyed the album from the start and I gave it a few listens. Overall it has a melancholy vibe to it but there are a few upbeat tracks that keep the album interesting. The opening track reminded me of something else that I'd heard before but I couldn't put a finger on what and that really clicked with me for some reason. Memory Boy, Desires Lines and Helicopter also made a strong impression but the closing track, He Would Have Laughed I am on the fence about. There's something about it I love and something that annoys the s*%t out of me I wish it didn't have such an abrupt ending, especially when Spotify likes to get into a related track after the song but that isn't it and I don't blame Deerhunter for that. Maybe I'll figure it out someday. This is one that hovers between a 3 and a 4 and I probably won't decide until I click the button.

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Tue Dec 07 2021
3

Soaked in reverb, lost in time. Why does the name Deerhunter pique my interest so quickly? Let the mystery unfold slowly. Remove the mask Scooby doo, who is haunting this fair ground ride...

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Fri Sep 10 2021
2

I listened to this album numerous times. While I liked the overall vibe of the album, it felt like it all blurred together to the point I couldn't tell you much about it, except the fact that it ends very abruptly. It took a lot of listens before I stopped checking to see if something went wrong.

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Tue Oct 18 2022
2

Helicopter was the best song. I probably could of read a haiku about baked beans though and that would of been the best song so it’s not saying much. Oh little baked bean How you taunt me on the plate My fork can’t stab you

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Thu Jun 08 2023
2

pretty generic indie sounds of its era, nothing too exciting and not much different from Monomania (which is better). not sure why these people are considered "influential?

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Fri Feb 19 2021
5

M'ha encantat. Alt-brit-rock!

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Sun Jul 04 2021
5

Oh man, so good. Coronado <3 <3 <3

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Fri May 28 2021
5

Me encantó. Lei año 2010 y pensé "ah nuevisimo" y despues cai que pasaron 10 años. Tiene un monton de capas de cuerdas superpuestas que con buenos auriculares te derriten el cerebro cuando les prestas atencion. Amo este tipo de arreglos, y el disco está remil bien producido. Las voces tambien son excelentes, un callback muy bueno a Arcade Fire o a Jesus and Mary Chain si querés ir un poco para atrás. La verdad me voló la cabeza. La tema tica del disco es otra cosa que me gustó, creo que es el primer disco que habla mas o menos de como es descubrir musica nueva y sentir felicidad al respecto. Faveadisimo.

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Thu Sep 30 2021
5

кайфовое инди, сигаретс афтер секс? лёгкий туманный приятный звук. нескучные аранжировки, откисалово, одно из немногих, что тут понравилось

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Tue Nov 16 2021
5

I've been meaning to listen to Deerhunter!

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Thu Jan 20 2022
5

Brill, listened to it again all over. Deep, dark, and textural.

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Tue Jan 25 2022
5

was massively into these in the early 10's, dropped off the radar a bit but still sounds great

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Tue Jan 25 2022
5

As a wannabe psychedelic junkie, I approve this album.

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Tue Feb 08 2022
5

I heard this in 2010 and loved it and i still listen to it every once in a while and love it. Seen them play live 4 or 5 times and loved it. Its beautiful, its crushing, it is cute, it's rough it is almost perfect. Fav tracks: helicopter, he would have laughed

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Sat Feb 19 2022
5

This kind of music is right up my alley and I liked every song but it gets a five mostly because I listened to it while on a really relaxing walk on the first nice day in February. Immaculate vibes

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Mon Mar 14 2022
5

Never had the chance to listen to Deerhunter. This is... really good!

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Mon Mar 28 2022
5

Four stars and a half An all-time classic, and an album which still holds its own years after it was released. As is usually the case with those classic albums, I won't write a full-blown review here given that others have already written wonderful stuff about them and there's not much I can add that I feel could be relevant and interesting. Halcyon Digest is just a timeless gem for anyone who has even a remote interest in indie-rock. Go and listen to it a.s.a.p. Number of albums left to review or just listen to: 944 Number of albums from the list I find relevant enough to be mandatory listens: 26 (including this one) Albums from the list I *might* include in mine later on: 15 Albums from the list I will certainly *not* include in mine (many others are more important to me): 16

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Mon May 23 2022
5

Super refreshing and unique. A great listen.

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Wed Jul 20 2022
5

Heard this for first time around 2014. The last track is my favorite, and I don't think there is a bad song on the album.

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Tue Jul 26 2022
5

A very lovely, beautifully intricate and well produced piece of contemporary indie/psych pop. Excellent cover art as well. Added to my snow playlist. Helicopter is an incredible tune.

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Sun Jul 31 2022
5

Alternative rock, 2010. One of the greatest albums of the 2000s because of its production and its composition. Listeners of every generation could enjoy this LP because there is a strong connection between classic and original. All the songs are perfectly disposed during the tracklist and the project feels like a true masterpiece: songs like "Desire Lines" and "He Would Have Laughed" are a prove of it.

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Mon Oct 10 2022
5

Un álbum con un sonido muy experimental, el cuál recuerda a las canciones de los Beatles en diferentes aspectos, con un buen uso de sintetizadores y guitarras

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Sun Nov 13 2022
5

At the time of writing this, I haven’t finished listening, but what I’ve heard so far makes this an easy 5.

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Sun Jan 08 2023
5

few things make me happier than a really, really good alternative album - 10/10

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Fri Jan 27 2023
5

I loved it. I was already a fan of Deerhunter and had no idea

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Fri Feb 24 2023
5

крайне приятный альбомчик

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Tue Mar 14 2023
5

I really liked this. I went through and listened to their whole discography today.

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Tue Mar 14 2023
5

When I first heard this album at 19, it was one of those experiences where I just kept saying to myself, “you can make a song like this?” It is still a sentiment I feel today. I come back to this one nearly every year. It is one of my most heavily played albums, and yet I am constantly finding new things to love and appreciate. The tripped out anxieties filtered through a dreamlike (and sometimes nightmarish) lens have always been incredible relatable to me, and the sonic soundscape only echos those feelings. Even as I evolve and change as a person, this album still remains relevant. A strange mix of the beauty and fears found in life, Halcyon Digest will be an album I’ll never grow tired of, and one that I think should be heard by anyone feeling a little lost and introspective.

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Thu Mar 30 2023
5

I dismissed this album when it was released as peak P4k fodder -- unintelligible lyrics, crunchy guitars, nothing particularly danceable or beautiful or stunningly innovative. To me, it sounded just like everything else that was being played in Urban Outfitters at the time. But in retrospect, I think this album is great. Sure, it doesn't seem groundbreaking in the way some other albums on this list surely are, but it does sound like something that would still stand out if it were released now, 13 years later. The songs are varied enough that it kept me interested and curious about what would come next. There's so much beautiful, layered, subtle texture in the bass & more muted background percussion. It reminds me of some of the Beatles' albums where I still discover "new" elements each time I listen.

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Tue Apr 18 2023
5

Ooh, I like this. Kind of feels like an indie horror movie with a positive, if bittersweet ending.

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Tue Apr 18 2023
5

I love this record. One of my favorites of the 2010s and one I revisit a ton. Songs like “Revival”, “Coronado”, and “Desire Lines” are all fantastic songs. Easy 5/5 for me

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Tue Apr 25 2023
5

First time listening to this album and I was in love with it from start to finish. Something about “Earthquake” hit my soul wherever lives memories of floating through nights of live music, it made me emotional!! The effervescent psychedelic songs, the campy upper songs, it all just hits for me

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Mon Jul 10 2023
5

oh wow i had to relisten to those songs a few times they’re devastating fav song: basement scene (makes me feel a certain way), helicopter (i have no friends), he would have laughed (the lyrics, i don’t want to grow up)

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Thu Aug 10 2023
5

Lovely stuff. Reminds me of numerous 80s indie bands, Echo, Siouxsie, Cure, Pixies and others. Definitely gonna buy this.

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Fri Oct 27 2023
5

Wish I could give it half a star. Man I love Deerhunter, but also hell some songs do go on for a bit too long. 9/10

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Fri Nov 03 2023
5

i will never not think of kyle

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Wed Dec 06 2023
5

Deerhunter was never meant to be a pretty band. The accidental brainchild of gay frontperson Bradford Cox, they had always meant the punky band to be a side-project, only finding the side-project blowing up in the cool and hip indie sphere of Pitchfork as the band gradually turned more ambient and neo-psychedelic. But that mean, abrasive and standoffish undercurrent still stayed, just hidden under layers of very pretty guitar noise. Halcyon Digest is Deerhunter's peak in creating beautiful soundscapes. Earthquake, Sailing and Basement Scene are great vibe songs, gently creating a watery soundscape to create a melancholic mood. But even in these songs, there is something uncanny going on: Earthquake has those gulping sounds and very soft but thumping percussion, Sailing has droning guitar feedback buried in the background, while Bradford covers their voice in layers of feedback and compression in Basement Scene. They evoke a sense of nostalgia, but it's not a simple nostalgia; more like something has burned off the edges of the memory, whether by the difficulty of recalling, or because the memory is actually painful. Surrounding the slower songs are some great poppy and punky songs like Don't Cry, Revival and Memory Boy. But even in the seemingly happier songs, the lyrics carry a sinister undertone, like the subject is actually going through something traumatic; Don't Cry suggesting a target of paedophilia being poached. Main single Helicopter is inspired by the fictional story of a gay victim of human trafficking falling from a helicopter. He Would Have Laughed is an eulogy to a friend of the band, comprised out of a repeating weird melody, seemingly random phrases, before after five minutes the clouds seem to part and a folksy guitar appears as the line "Where did my friends go?" is being sung, before the melody returns and after a short while, the song suddenly cuts out, almost as a metaphor for the last moments of consciousness before dying. Sure, dealing with such subject matter seem to be a little tactless and crass (again, that mean undercurrent), but these songs share that subtext of gay anger and longing. A confusing feeling, but Bradford Cox never plays their cards straight in this album. It's always pretty layers stacked upon sharp layers. However, the other members of the band help this album from sinking into despair. Moses Archuleta's simple, no-nonsense drumming gives the songs a lumbering sense of force, while co-songwriter and singer Lockett Puntt gives two great songs acting as counterforce. His songs Desire Lines and Fountain Stairs are almost anthemic and U2-like, especially with that repetitive drive from the guitar, were it not for the longing vibe. With the sense of anthemic drive, the beautiful guitar tones and the gay subtext all in perfect balance, its easy to see why this is Deerhunter's most beloved album. Still, it's not quite my personal favourite album. I tend to gravitate more towards the earlier Microcastle, for its better sense of drive, or the later Monomania, for taking the angry subtext into text. Even Fading Frontiers, which is a way more uneven album than the rest of their catalog, has better pop highlights with even prettier sounds. But still, Halcyon Digest is a damn fine work from one of my favourite bands. Decent 5

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Sun Dec 31 2023
5

I was slightly annoyed to see this as Spotify constantly suggests it to me. I’ve seen them live and don’t remember having strong feelings about them. It really won me over this time, not sure why. I’m a bit annoyed Spotify was right

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Tue Jan 02 2024
5

Glad this one is on the list. It was my 2nd most favourite album from 2010. Perhaps I liked it a bit better then than now - listening to it again now it is noticeable that not every song is strong - but still a great record overall, and I will have to go for 5 stars. Favourite song: Desire Lines, which seems to be the consensus view Score: 9/10

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Thu Jan 11 2024
5

Fantastic indie rock, heavy, but buoyant sound, bit of shoegaze. An album that really encapsulates that era of indie rock. Amazing production all around, fantastic songs tied together by themes of nostalgia and longing.

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Fri Jan 12 2024
5

I'm not super impressed or enchanted but it's pleasant and easy to listen and I've already listened to it three times since yesterday and I'm going to listen to it more so 5 stars are probably fair

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Tue Feb 06 2024
5

Well this was a nice find, I liked it!

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Tue Apr 02 2024
5

I rather enjoyed this collection of tracks - sounds like white album period Beatles, where catchy pop melodies mingle with dark soundscapes and post psychedelia. Well worth a listen.

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Tue Apr 23 2024
5

This is very indie pop/rock. With a little bit of flair/artistry sprinkled in. Which is to say, I loved it.

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Fri May 10 2024
5

Vilket otroligt album. Dom lite lugnare låtarna bidrar och är inte bara utfyllnad. Outrot på Desire Lines är så jävla läckert

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Fri May 31 2024
5

I love this album. It sounded great when it came out and sounds great today. I can get not seeing how incredible it is because maybe it only speaks to a certain breed, but man it's good

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Thu Jun 06 2024
5

Never heard of them before. They couple bouncy pop with quirky background sounds and slightly fuzzy vocals--reminds me of the kind of band only the cool kids knew about. Basement Scene sounds like the Everly Brothers on acid, and what's not to like about that? Elsewhere, they sound like the sadly pissed-off children of Jesus and Mary Chain who wished their parents let them outside to ride bikes like the other kids. Nice sax in Coronado! He Would Have Laughed is a beautiful end to an album that has definitely been a journey--a good one.

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Mon Jun 10 2024
5

Fire. Kinda radioheady but its own thing. Really cool and varied

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Thu Oct 01 2020
4

Fitting that I get this considering that the tenth anniversary of the album's release has passed. Very cool sounds all around. Favorites include Desire Lines, Helicopter, Fountain Scene and He Would Have Laughed.

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Fri Jan 01 2021
4

Good mix of ethereal and surf rock sound. Kind of surprised with how much I enjoyed this. I always thought I thought Deerhunter was boring, but this was nice.

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Fri Nov 27 2020
4

I remember not being super fond of Deerhunter, so I'm coming into this album with mixed feelings. Felt like The Strokes, but I know DH is their own thing. I dunno, man, it was fun album to listen to. Kinda dreamy / sleepy vibes.

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Thu Feb 18 2021
4

Very good indie dream noise pop - last track is great.

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Fri Jan 15 2021
4

Very cool album. Definitely added to my Pandora collection.

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Thu Feb 11 2021
4

relaxing, was putting me to sleep.

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Fri May 07 2021
4

Great alternative with pop sensibilities at points

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Sun Jan 24 2021
4

This record is pretty solid. Weird noise pop with some catchy tunes but a decent amount of filler in my opinion. I’ve listened to this record before and I think I fell out of favor with it. Favorite song: Revival Least favorite song: Basement Scene

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Tue Jan 19 2021
4

My type of music when you are just working aimlessly

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Wed Apr 07 2021
4

Strong start. Love that combo of up-front drum machine with very twangy acoustic guitar. I've definitely heard the first track. This sounds great. Distorted vocals and noisy elements are awesome, this is definitely up my alley. Deerhunter have described themselves as "ambient punk" according to Wikipedia, which I can see from this. Some of the tracks don't hit as hard, but "Earthquake", "Don't Cry", and "Helicopter" are very good. They all don't hit as well as those though, but still about a 3.5 to 4* for me.

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Tue Mar 09 2021
4

Quite radioheadish I liked it

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Sun Jan 24 2021
4

Slow and chill, this is an album that can turn people off with it's pacing and use of echo, sometimes feeling like you're in a chamber all by yourself with nothing to do. Fortunately, I like this kind of music, and tend to seek out calming stuff. Favorite songs are Desire Lines, He Would Have Laughed, and Coronado. Least Favorite is Earthquake.

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Mon Jun 07 2021
4

Catchy indie music with echo-y vocals and good beats. Highlights: -Revival -Sailing -Helicopter -He Would Have Laughed

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Wed Apr 07 2021
4

What a beautiful album. It's like a sea of friendly existential dread. Knew of this band but had not listened to them much if at all. Looking forward to exploring them more, and if this album is any indication I will be a new fan.

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Tue Jul 20 2021
4

this was wholly unexpected - i'd never heard the name before, and while i immediately liked the album name, that was all i knew. i really love this album - i love the prodigious reverb, i love the weird repetitions, i love the vocal style...i'm genuinely surprised and delighted

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