Originally Written and Posted at Epinions.com on 6/16/09
2008's Microcastle along with its accompanying bonus disc entitled Weird Era Cont. helped give Deerhunter much acclaim as they were considered one of the best indie bands in the genre. After getting some attention when they were personally selected by Trent Reznor to open for Nine Inch Nails on some dates, the buzz continued to thrive as the side projects of its individual members like vocalist/guitarist Bradford Cox's Atlas Sound and guitarist Lockett Pundt's Lotus Plaza managed to get attention as well. The Atlanta-based band, now a quartet that includes bassist Joshua Farver and drummer Moses Archuleta following Colin Mee's departure in late 2007, continues to delve into individual projects and the band as well. In 2008, the band went into a Brooklyn studio with producer Nicholas Vernhes to record a five-song EP that would showcase the growing sounds of the ambient-punk band entitled Rainwater Cassette Exchange.
Written and performed by Deerhunter and produced by Nicholas Vernhes, the Rainwater Cassette Exchange EP is a five-song EP of brand new material recorded from a 2008 session at a Brooklyn, New York studio. The five songs show the band's strange, esoteric, ambient-punk song taken into newer heights while adding more melodic sensibilities to their sound. The result isn't just some new transitional phase for the band but also the band's growing ability in songwriting and performance as they are becoming one of the most exciting bands to come around in the past few years.
The record opens with its title track, a loopy, melodic-swirling track filled with bouncy bass lines and guitar riffs with tingling percussions in the background. With Bradford Cox's dreamy vocals filled with esoteric lyrics, Moses Archuleta's thumping drums come in along with Lockett Pundt's soft, ringing guitar swirls. The song is filled with amazing production and layers of instrumentation in the guitars, bass, and drums as it's clear that this is a different record from the band than in their previous work. The first single Disappearing Ink is an upbeat, guitar-driven song with fast, charging guitar riffs and bouncy rhythms which includes Joshua Farver's wobbly bass line. With Cox's dreamy vocals and eerie lyrics, it's a song that shows new complexities from the band as it's an intense cut that is dream-like but also with a punk-like energy that most bands couldn't replicate.
Famous Last Words is a bouncy, upbeat song with thumping bass lines and drum parts that plays to Cox's raspy, nasally vocals filled with lyrics relating to death. With Pundt's ringing guitar solos along with swirling synthesizers in the background, it's a song that is carried by its superb production and the performance of the band itself. Games Of Diamonds is an acoustic cut with hollow percussions flourishes from Archuleta's bongos and smooth, washy acoustic guitar riffs. With some soothing, ethereal keyboards in the background, it's Cox's vocals filled with imagery-laden lyrics that really shine. Of all the songs in the record, this cut is the real standout as it shows a new versatility in the band with Pundt singing along to the chorus as he plays some amazing riffs to the acoustic guitar.
The last track on the record is Circulation, a thundering song with rumbling bass drum beats and arpeggio-swirling guitars filled with driving shoegaze-inspired guitars. Along with pounding bass lines, it's Cox's raspy vocals with its weird, dreamy lyrics along with Pundt's accompanying vocals that help the song. Even as its production help build up the track in the beginning as its ringing guitar melodies and intense performances with crashing drums and swirling guitar layers take shape into the song making it a fitting closer.
While it's only a record that lasts for 15 minutes, the Rainwater Cassette Exchange EP is still an amazing record from Deerhunter. For fans of the band who have been following them for the past few years will no doubt be amazed by the new material the band has created. With a new wave of bands coming out of Atlanta like Mastodon and Manchester Orchestra among others. It's clear that Deerhunter are the most interesting of all as they continue to push their ambient-punk sounds to new heights while not delving too far into the mainstream. In many respects, this is the band's most accessible record to date while it definitely ups the ante for what they could do next. In the end, the Rainwater Cassette Exchange EP is one of the 2009's best records from Atlanta's very own Deerhunter.
Deerhunter Reviews: Cryptograms - Fluorescent Grey EP - Microcastle - (Weird Era Cont.) - Halcyon Digest
Related Reviews: (Yeah Yeah Yeahs/Deerhunter/Imaad Wasif-10/14/06 Atlanta, GA Tabernacle) - NIN/Deerhunter-8/13/08 Duluth, GA Gwinnett Arena - (Atlas Sound-Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel) - (Atlas Sound-Logos) - (Lotus Plaza-The Floodlight Collective) - Deerhunter-10/1/06 Atlanta, GA Variety Playhouse
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