Track Review: Deerhunter – “Monomania”

[4AD; 2013]

For those of you not keeping count, this will be the eighth consecutive year that we’ve gotten new material from at least one member of Deerhunter. The Georgia natives make their long-awaited return with their sixth LP, Monomania, in May (though I suppose that’s a relative term). The album’s title track, which debuted simultaneously on iTunes and Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, is a severe interruption from the smoother contours of Atlas Sound, Lotus Plaza and especially Halcyon Digest.

“Monomania”’s production is chafed and grimy, closer to Turn It Up Faggot than anything Deerhunter have done since. They try hard to recreate their original sound, this time with the advantage of 10 years’ experience. First there’s the scathing punk groove, filled with Bradford Cox’s spontaneous pipedreams. Then he tightens the screws, bile collecting in his throat, the phrase “Mono-monomania” scraping through the gathering instrumental storm for three full minutes. He pursues it with relentless vitriol, his voice taking on the quiddity of a gremlin. With Deerhunter focusing so intently on the song’s title, “Monomania” acquires a pattern of self-consumption. This is obsession with obsession.

Monomania is out May 7th via 4AD