Deerhunter frontman Bradford Cox has claimed that the state of “monomania”, after which his band have named their sixth album, relates to him having never “moved on” like his bandmates, instead remaining single-minded and, for better or worse, constantly focused on nothing but his music.
Bearing this in mind, these new tracks feel, more than ever, like very personal work. Indeed, following the breezier psychedelic sound of solo project Atlas Sound’s recent work, Monomania emerges fraught, scratchy, anguished and explosive. Back To The Middle, one of its best moments, feels like a mission statement, with the middle being perhaps Cox’s own artistic core; the title track, which rips away into a motorcycle field recording after building ferociously, suggests a movement – towards who knows what – but a determined and noisy one to boot.
Fans who’d grown to love the smoother sounds – saxophones and all – of predecessor Halcyon Digest might be in for a surprise, but Monomania retains those same Deerhunter kernels if you’re willing to forage. You might get your fingers grubby, but the fruit, often deep inside the shell, is still delicious.