Deerhunter sounds exactly like frontman Bradford Cox looks: Ghostly and spindly, yet possessed of a wiry, mischievous intelligence that makes up for a lack of muscle. On Microcastle, Cox pumps up his gauzy compositions by summoning the spirits of ’60s pop and garage (he seems obsessed with — or perhaps possessed by — old ghosts), creating a sound that’s both focused and eerily dreamlike.
After the drowsy rock of “Agoraphobia” and “Never Stops,” the record slips into the REM stage (um, not the band) with a suite of ambient tracks that wraps the listener in warm blankets of fuzz and reverb. The rousing “Nothing Ever Happened” serves as an adequate wake-up call, but is soon overpowered by the calming, dissonant lull of “Twilight at Carbon Lake.” Haunted, surreal, and disarmingly beautiful, Microcastle may occasionally sound like musical Ambien, but it’s never a downer.
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