Weird Era Cont.
A simultaneous release alongside Deerhunter’s brilliant Microcastle, Weird Era Cont., like its partner disc, offers more moments of pop brilliance than artful meandering. Far from being an afterthought collection of outtakes, the songs here continue pushing into pop territory while retaining the Bradford Cox/Atlas Sound affection for ambient textures and atmospherics. Weird Era reminds us that all is not rainbows and unicorns in the land of Deerhunter, even when they frolic in ‘60s pop sunshine. Sure, “Vox Humana” is what the Shangri-Las might sound like produced by Cox in the new millennium, and “Backspace Century” and “VHS Dream” offer crystalline guitars that glisten through the fog; but the spastic, dance-punk guitar strumming of “Operation” gives way to gloomy keys and lyrics (“I hate you, I hate you, I hate you”) and the resolutely beautiful “Dot Gain” and brash My Bloody Valentine paean “Vox Celeste” are just too narcoticized to feel good in a healthy way. On the brighter side “Focus Group” is bewitching in its comparable nakedness, “Moon With Cartridge” is mostly light-hearted, hand-clapping fun, and the epic version of “Calvary Scars II / Aux. Out” (a version of “Calvary Scars” is on Microcastle) is massively, thunderously satisfying.