Halcyon Digest is Deerhunter’s 4th studio LP, it was released on September 28th, 2010 on 4AD.
When I got Halcyon Digest in the mail and immediately slapped it in my car’s CD player, I wasn’t at all sure what I was going to hear or even how much I was going to like it. I have not been anything of a Deerhunter fanatic by any means. I’ve always enjoyed their music but didn’t quite hear what everybody else was hearing. That is up until now. This disc is brimming with personality and variety. It reminds me of albums from the 60’s and 70’s in that the production value is almost humble and informal in a good way. It is a great album to listen to in front of a fireplace on a big comfy couch with somebody who likes you.
Bradford Cox and his squadron are in tip-top shape on Digest. Whether they are tearing it up retro style on “Memory Boy” and my favorite track “Coronado”, or blissing out on “Helicopter”, the corners of the listener’s mouth will almost assuredly end up staking claim in northern territory. “Memory Boy” sounds like it belongs on an early who album like A Quick One while “He Would Have Laughed” reminds me of the theme song from Nickelodeon’s Rugrats which was written by Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo. It’s this variety that is most impressive to me.
Lyrically, Digest is upscale as well. On “Don’t Cry” we hear Cox singing “C’mon little boy, I am your friend/and I understand, the pain you’re in.” which is probably a bit autobiographical given Cox’s Marfan Syndrome and probable social misfortunes growing up. Come to think of it, “Memory Boy” is also about Cox’s personal life. When Cox was a teenager his parents got a divorce and they left him to live in his childhood house by himself. Hence the lyric “Did you stick with me?/Let me jog my memory/I see you leaving/Oh don’t forget your TV.” There’s such tenderness here. Breaks your heart really.
This is easily one of my favorite albums of 2010. Do not pass it up. Don’t let the awesome, creepy, dark album cover fool you. It’s not so terrifying as all that. In fact it’s quite the opposite. This is me begging you to listen to this album… and soon.