Pitchfork’s review of the new Deerhunter album has enough insightful and thought-provoking moments to be a pleasurable and substantial piece of music journalism/poetry. The review eschews the typical Pitchfork discussion of the artist’s flaws, commercial motives, etc. and instead discusses what is good about the music on the new Deerhunter album. The first paragraph describes the album as “exhilarating” and declares the band to have created a “seamless album of startling emotional clarity.”

I’m not sure what “emotional clarity” sounds like, but I’m actually more interested in the fact that the reviewer, Marc Hogan, found it not just “impressive” or “surprising” but actually “startling”- like upon listening to the new Deerhunter album he actually jumped out of his chair in fear upon hearing the emotional clarity.

As the review continues, Hogan gives a quick, effective assessment of Deerhunter’s past works then launches into the free-association poetic metaphors that Pitchfork is best known for. He describes previous Deerhunter album Microcastle as a “sprawling, ghostly amusement park of a double album, with violence and frail beauty never far from each other.” He then continues, “the album treks down sheer granite cliffs through moss covered oaks full of raptor’s eggs.” Ok, I made that last line up, but that’s kind of how I read it.

Paragraph three has the traditional Pitchfork connections to important and/or obscure musical works in the hipster canon. I don’t know if I’ve heard the two albums mentioned here, but I have heard of the guy Neil Young, who is referenced here and who was in America, or CCR, or Buffalo Springfield. I can’t remember. I know he’s really old and might have been in all three.

The review devotes the next three paragraphs, half of the paragraphs in the entire review, to discussing the lyrics. There are a couple interesting insights into background sources for the lyrical content. A clear picture is hard to extract, but considering the limited space, the job done is quite effective.

The last paragraph is the best one. Hogan’s discussion of the album’s sense of nostalgia conveys a beautiful idea with startling emotional clarity for a Pitchfork review. I know that sounds like I’m just making a joke referencing the second paragraph of this review reviewing the first paragraph of the Pitchfork review, and I am a little, but I’m also serious in that it is a really beautiful thought Hogan conveys and it is one that actually describes a specific idea. It almost seems out of place. Hogan describes a nostalgia “not for an era, not for antiquated technology, but for a feeling of excitement, of connection, of that dumb obsession that makes life worth living no matter how horrible it gets.”

Overall, the Pitchfork review of the new Deerhunter album proves to be a satisfying experience, with very little of the irrelevant, narcissistic moments sometimes found in Pitchfork reviews. Indeed, there is almost nothing annoying about this review. If one is to point to a flaw it might simply be the short length. Perhaps Pitchfork will decide to release outtakes and b-sides from the review as such a move would surely add to a quality review that leaves the reader wanting more.

original review is at
http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/14681-halcyon-digest

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