Cryptograms

  • Record Label: Kranky
  • Release Date: Jan 29, 2007
Metascore
77

Generally favorable reviews - based on 17 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 17
  2. Negative: 0 out of 17
  1. While Cryptograms presents its own obstacles, it's easily enjoyed as a whole. Memorable melodies and an awkward, charismatic narrator are often peeking from behind the dissonance-laden mists that self-consciously choke them.
  2. Yeah, the alternate/alternating track sequence is screwy for the first seven songs or so — Deerhunter build momentum only to lose it. But it gives the album’s backside something of a black-and-white-to-Technicolor moment.
  3. When the proper songs throughout are so uniformly good in spite of their fractured approaches, complaining about scarcity seems despicably greedy.
  4. Although it's definitely a bit bi-polar, Cryptograms still gets high marks for offering up a slew of great tracks and actually gaining strength the longer it goes on.
  5. This is not a complete or coherent narrative of despair, as the two album halves don’t particularly work with one another—it really feels like two EPs sewn together. But the effort is more than evocative enough to scare the hell out of you, at least for a little while.
  6. Cryptograms is a tonal wash of brisk speed kicks and seasick comedowns, the kind of thing you could lose an afternoon to.
  7. The sequencing allows the listener space to breathe at the most opportune moments, and its leaps from ambience into adrenaline-soaked enthusiasm for hand-clap-happy high-jinx are worthy of celebration.
  8. Paste Magazine
    80
    [Cryptograms] occasionally surprises with its accessibility. [Apr 2007, p.58]
  9. Under The Radar
    80
    Its unified, gorgeous, unpretentious originality shines like a beacon of hope in the ever dumbed down world of commercialized indie rock. [#17, p.91]
  10. Cryptograms is by no means a flawless record, but taking the time to speak its language, tap into the dueling forces that make it tick, is an intriguing reward.
  11. Half of me thinks the group was aiming for a bit of something hypnotized and dreamy, that they worship Spacemen 3 and the patience that entails. But then the other half thinks Cryptograms is something gritty and furious, maybe something religious, but still something of a turtlehead waiting to poke through.
  12. This album has something for everyone and will appeal to the kids who like ambient drone pieces and folks who love songs with great pop hooks - and everyone in between.
  13. Uncut
    60
    Live may well be the best place to encounter them. [Feb 2007, p.73]
  14. An album as ultimately disappointing as it is initially thrilling.
  15. Spin
    60
    Both sides would be well served by a bit of mingling. [Mar 2007, p.91]
  16. Magnet
    60
    Cryptograms is a pleasant enough record, but it remains to be seen if Deerhunter can add up to more than the sum of its gear and influences. [#75, p.96]
User Score
8.2

Universal acclaim- based on 39 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 15
  2. Negative: 1 out of 15
  1. Oct 28, 2014
    6
    If you listen to Deerhunter's back catalogue, you could be forgiven for thinking that Cryptograms came later in their career, in theirIf you listen to Deerhunter's back catalogue, you could be forgiven for thinking that Cryptograms came later in their career, in their experimental period. Unlike most indie rock bands, Deerhunter have gotten more melodic and less experimental as their career has progressed. Cryptograms works best when listened to in its entirety in the one sitting. This allows you to immerse yourself in the record and really get your teeth into it. On the other hand, while I find this the best way to listen to the album, it also highlights the downsides to the record. At times the band simply overindulge with certain ideas resulting in some tracks sounding repetitive and ultimately boring which is something I could never say about the bands best works (which I feel are Microcastle and Halycon Digest). For me, its more a very interesting album rather than a very good album. "Red Ink" is the standout track for me. Full Review »
  2. Oct 23, 2011
    8
    The album takes quite a few listens to sink in. The first half of the album is mostly comprised of instrumental tracks, whereas the secondThe album takes quite a few listens to sink in. The first half of the album is mostly comprised of instrumental tracks, whereas the second half is made up of some nice psychedelic pop. Overall a great album with the stand out track being Spring Hall Convert. Full Review »
  3. nashaq
    Feb 4, 2009
    6
    I think this album has been a bit over rated, it seemed 'fashionable' to like this album (I actually prefer Microcastles). Some I think this album has been a bit over rated, it seemed 'fashionable' to like this album (I actually prefer Microcastles). Some good songs but then a few mediocre. Full Review »