“I’m the closest thing that our age has to a Bowie. Take it or leave it.”
That’s one bold statement. But an unsurprising one, given it was made by Bradford Cox. The eccentric frontman of Deerhunter is nothing if not bold.
Over the years, Cox has proved himself to be a font of unpredictability. An intriguing, and often fragile-seeming character, he has long stood out against the backdrop of pretense that floods so much of today’s alternative music market. Deerhunter’s music is similarly characteristic.
Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared? is no exception to this rule. Released in January, the band’s eighth album has garnered critical acclaim, and is widely recognised as one of the best releases this year. Here we see Cox’s often gloomy lyrics juxtaposed by sunny melodies and quirky instrumental backing, whether that’s from a harpsichord, guitar or synths. All the while, a feeling of disarray and confusion ebbs and flows throughout the record, surfacing all the right moments.
The combination of the band’s eclectic catalogue and Cox’s distinct personality has built a solid reputation for their live show. Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs even describes seeing Deerhunter as a ‘religious experience’.
With comments like that, it’s no wonder Cox fancies himself as a 21st century Bowie.
See Deerhunter play at SWX on 5th November, with the enormous bonus of seeing Mercury-nominated Cate Le Bon in support.
The above preview was written for Bristol In Stereo, published on 31/10/2019