It appears that whatever Brian Cox, the frontman of Deerhunter, decides to pursue, it will be touched by a strange genius. Be it the premiere of the title song from Monomania on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon where he used fake blood and bandages to created the illusion of a missing finger – a nod to his father who actually had recently lost a few fingers in a saw-related accident – or him performing concerts in girly frocks.
Cox’ willingness to steer clear of the boundaries of normalcy and his skillful writing of rock songs that are beautiful and robust at the same time are what makes every new Deerhunter record so hotly anticipated. However, on Monomania the band has almost completely rejected any dreamy suggestions of shoegaze – of which there has been an abundance of on previous albums. There is no acidic beauty here like there was in “Twilight at Carbon Lake” taken from Microcastle or no paranoic lazyness like there was in “Earthquake” on Halcyon Digest. Instead there is a lot of raw garage rock, more zing and less melancholy. Monomania could actually make you miss the melancholy, nevertheless, this side of Deerhunter with cigarettes, alcohol, biker jackets and sweaty concerts – this side is just as sweet. Especially songs like “Neon Junkyard” and “Leather Jacket II”.
Cox has not had the easiest of lives as is evident in the sharp lyrics and the seemingly positive sounding music provides cover for mental instabilities. Lockett Pundt – the guitarist, also famous for solo project Lotus Plaza – also briefly features as a composer here. His “Desire Lines“ on Halcyon Digest was one of the highlights of that album, and here he continues the streak with “The Missing”, which for a moment takes the album into softer dimensions. Monomania cannot be ruled out on this album.