Beginning with harpsichord and piano, Deerhunter’s newest record, Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared, glimpses a band in the process of rewriting the rulebook. Using conceptual, present-day science fiction, Bradford Cox and the band examine a society where attention spans are virtually non-existent and music is made more often by machines than human beings
Fifteen years in, Deerhunter have created something meaningful and masterful. Almost four years on from his previous work, Bradford Cox has deconstructed and reconstructed how his music is made. Produced by the band in conjunction with Ben Etter and Ben H. Allen III, what has been crafted is an album that goes down the highway’s dividing line while still taking in the ditches on both sides of the road.
Along for the ride are fellow explorers, Welsh singer-songwriter Cate Le Bon and the lead guitar of White Fence, Tim Presley. As Cox talks about the music it becomes clear, “There is a feeling of disappearance here.” Despite all of that, the music is often vibrant and alive, even as songs take a look at a world where life fades away and time cannot be stopped.
Leading off, ‘Death In Midsummer’ suggests death and destruction are close at hand, “… may God’s will be done in these poison hills.” While further on Cox offers “and in time you will see your own life fade away and there was no time to go back.” Despite the gloomy lyrics, Le Bon’s harpsichord creates something not quite so dour, rocking amidst the turmoil. Similarly Elemental seems somehow wistfully jaunty, while lyrically presenting a world of, “cancer words laid out in lines, the road was wide, the road was silent.”
Voices transformed, sounds turned over, every time you seem to have a handle on what’s going on Deerhunter shifts the sound, causing a reexamination of the elements that have gone before. It’s a wild ride through a nightmare reality, yet in the hands of Bradford Cox the ride is challenging and exhilarating.