As I sat down in Starbucks, I stuck my headphones in my ears to be completely immersed in Deerhunter’s new release, Fading Frontier. My expectations were pretty low, considering this was their seventh album since the band formed in 2001. The increasing trend is that bands sell out after their third or fourth album as their music boils down to simple four-chord progressions with repetitive lyrics that are dull and shallow. I only suspected Deerhunter to follow the trend since their time was past due.
After ignoring the girls that were shrieking about their pumpkin spice lattes and pressing the “Skip Ad” button, Fading Frontier started flooding into my brain. Within seconds, every low expectation that nested in my head was washed away. I guess I shouldn’t have underestimated the band’s musical talent considering their second record, Cryptograms, was recorded in a matter of two days and the bands four members are all proficient in more than one instrument.
Frontman Bradford Cox also stated (likely to spite pop culture) “… I decided to be gay, so I never have kids who love Taylor Swift,” just to have a spoken promise to us that Deerhunter will never sell out. Deerhunter will never succumb to pop culture and no album Deerhunter has released has broken that promise.
Fading Frontier was released after Cox sustained serious injuries from a traumatic car accident. In the haze of his post-accident depression, Cox wanted to release something that put out a good vibe, contrary to the previous albums filled with the usual anger and angst. The band succeeded with songs like “Breaker” and “Snakeskin” that resemble the catchy tunes that reached the top of the charts in the ’80s. They put out a “feel good” vibe, and when they’re playing no one dares to turn them off. The songs surge calming energy through your veins.
Cox expressed that he wanted the record to feel like the first day of spring after a long winter, and that’s exactly what it feels like. The first song, “All the Same,” lets you enter a world where worry disintegrates from your body like seasonal depression disappears on that first sunny day. The music is sensual, and you can’t help but to close your eyes and sit in euphoria while listening to it.
The lyrics go a long way toward setting the record’s emotional tenor, with the words in songs like “Leather and Wood,” where Cox chimes, “I believe the sun will rise/ In the east now/ I believe we will find/ That elusive peace now,” summoning a feeling of serenity when the music vibrates in your eardrums.
Each song off Fading Frontier is composed so wonderfully that it regulates your heartbeat. It has you in a state of meditation without realizing it. The known indie rock style Deerhunter has contrasts with the futuristic alien sound in certain songs like “Ad Astra,” and “Duplex Planet,” creating an out of body experience with each listen.
Listen to Fading Frontier with no distractions from beginning to end with your eyes closed. It will feel like you are traveling among the stars. Deerhunter never disappoints, and Fading Frontier is out of this world.