SHORTLY BEFORE 2013’s Monomania, Bradford Cox fell in love, for the first time in forever. It didn’t go well, and that album swapped Deerhunter’s previously dreamy, blurry tones for an avantgarage cacophony Cox described as “demonic”, intended to avenge his broken heart.
Monomania’s follow-up is less catharsis, more recovery, though beneath its wellsculpted pop, bruises remain. You hear it clearest on Leather And Wood, Cox crooning, “I believe there is no hope”, into glitchy reverb.
Elsewhere, the melodies ring out more anthemic – Snakeskin shakes its tush like The Drowners-era Suede – but a post-traumatic edge lingers: the mesmeric throb of Living My Life is wrapped around the title’s desperately clung-to mantra; the surging Duplex Planet is wired with post-break-up anxiety (“I’ve seen you/You looked through me”, a stinging line worthy of Motown). Cox’s naked sensitivity and inability to filter himself have been constants through the band’s career; on Fading Frontier, they ensure Deerhunter’s most accessible songs yet are also their most affecting.
Watch the video for Living My Life: