Deerhunter Fading Frontier 4AD
Back in August, Bradford Cox released a cryptic link to a GIF picturing his face morphing into a dog. Later that week, Deerhunter announced their new album Fading Frontier with a video for lead track Snakeskin which cited everything from macabre skulls to Faustian montages.
Dogs and death imagery aside, Snakeskin was only the first bite of the rotten apple of temptation that is Fading Frontier. “I’ve spent all of my time chasing the fading frontiers,” cries Cox in Living My Life, his voice glazed by a sunny psych-pop sheen. “I wish I was a mole in the ground,” comes the country bop at the end of Ad Astra, before sliding into “It’s much too deep / It’s too much for me” on Carrion.
Fading Frontier is the band’s seventh album, and the record’s credits include members of Broadcast and Stereolab. More shoegaze surge than the death-rattle garage of 2013’s Monomania, the album is a cleaner call to synths and tapes. The record’s drifts seem to sweep through Deerhunter’s halcyon dress-wearing days and into a shrewd combination of frail vocals and ripples. But in the lightness of the album’s ambient twirls and dream-pop accessibility lays a darkness reminiscent of Deerhunter’s previous works, and Cox’s lyrics are fleshed with a range of electronic twitches and warped synths, adding to the altogether sinister tone. Cox may have lost his marbles on this one, but I think I like it.