American five-piece guitar band Deerhunter has been one of the most consistently innovative acts of the past decade. Following 2015’s underappreciated Fading Frontier, Bradford Cox and co return with their eighth album, Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared?
There are a few off-the-wall moments where the group seems to be scratching an artistic itch, such as in Tarnung with its Tom Waits-ish marimba motifs and clarinet.
But there are far more high points, many of which feel like a natural progression from the last record, such as the sprawling and celestial No One’s Sleeping, with its gentle, driving desert rock; and Element, which already feels like a Deerhunter classic with its baroque-meets-60s rock’n’roll hybrid sound.
The clunky rhythm of Futurism, and the Afro-Cuban influence on Plains show the band at their most dance-orientated and laid-back, piquing the listener’s interest in the album’s closing moments.
Cox’s lyrical style is simple, but powerfully poetic, with many of the songs delving into the theme of death. This is most prevalent in album highlight What Happens To People?, with the brutal lines, “What happens to people?/They quit holding on/...What happens to people/They fade out of view.”
We should be grateful that everything hasn’t disappeared yet, otherwise we wouldn’t have heard this great new album.