Deerhunter – Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared? | Album Review

4AD • 2019

With “Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared?” Deerhunter have constructed their blandest record to date, despite having some interesting ideas.

American band Deerhunter have always been celebrated for their unique take on the alternative-rock-pop scene. By using their signature, psychedelic sound, the group have crafted some great and interesting records over the years. With “Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared?”, Deerhunter do make use of their typical sound to capture some trippy moments, but the pacing of the tracks ends up becoming tedious. The way that the group present the instrumentation on this record isn’t as adventurous as the band have done in the past, and to be frank, comes across as quite boring.

The group’s latest LP is not a terrible album, it’s just quite disappointing after their previous records, and didn’t do much to keep me invested. The album’s sixth track “Détournement” was an odd inclusion with it’s abstract, surreal instrumentals and heavily manipulated spoken-word section. The slow, repetitive guitar strums in the background of the song make the whole thing boring to listen to, and the strange vocals ended up being unbearable to sit through. I don’t particularly feel that the track got across the message that it was going for, and it always seemed to be building up to something that simply never came.

The tracks “Greenpoint Gothic” and “Tarnung” both feature a similar plucked style of instrumentation, although the latter presents it in a more steady arpeggio state. The thick horns and the eerie group vocals actually serve as a refreshing change of pace for Deerhunter, and create an interesting and dynamic sound. However the pacing of the record lets the project down again as the following track “Plains” makes use of tribal sounds and wooden percussion, which does not naturally transition from “Tarnung”. Despite not flowing that smoothly from the previous track, “Plains” is actually a personal highlight on the album for me. The song’s soaring synths and strings are beautifully arranged and brings all of the track’s separate elements together in an effective way.

“Element” is on of the record’s best tracks, thanks to the easy-going rock groves and the weepy instrumentation in the background of the song. This combined with the tight backing vocals, make it one of the most enjoyable numbers on the album. However the LP’s closing track, “Nocturne” is a rather underwhelming track, that despite featuring a ragtag vibe, doesn’t even have the charm or entertainment value of a song that sounds raw or un-produced. The vocals on the track have a habit of cutting in and out periodically, which ends up being more irritating than it is interesting.

Many of the tracks on the record, attempt to be creative in their premise, but fail to fully deliver something engrossing or cohesive in context with the rest of the album. None of the writing or performances on the record are sharp enough to be investing, or accessible enough to be easy-listening. The album as a whole isn’t bad, just rather forgettable, and I don’t see myself coming back to it anytime soon.



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