Microcastle - Deerhunter
Metascore
81

Universal acclaim - based on 35 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 35
  2. Negative: 0 out of 35
  1. It may end angrily, but when it’s all said and done, Microcastle is a blissful retreat from the known.
  2. But for all the praise it should receive for being the record Deerhunter were destined to make, what will make Microcastle a classic (and this has every right to become a classic) is what the album means to the person listening.
  3. Here, the band comes into their own by applying their own inspiringly distinctive, bleakly appealing sensibility to whatever ideas happen to move them.
  4. Deerhunter have indeed created a masterpiece. While it's not perfect, it has the charm and scope and full realization that was lacking in the band's earlier work.
  5. The bolder sound signals that Deerhunter is now less concerned with the scarring effects of loss, conflict, and the passage of time, and more concerned with the ways to escape those things--even if that escape is fleeting.
  6. Where the split-personality of Cryptograms hinted as much, a cohesive effort on Microcastle delivers the goods in its entirety.
  7. Though Microcastle is hardly straightforward, it’s an aggressive step toward the mainstream that sacrifices none of Deerhunter’s woozy adventurousness.
  8. The sounds on Microcastle form a lush landscape.
  9. In putting the brakes on their revolutionary impulses to instead embrace old tropes and familiar sounds, Deerhunter has hit upon an endearing, awesome universality.
  10. 86
    Microcastle shows Deerhunter [sic] progresing with reason, creating one of their best releases yet. [Fall 2008, p.92]
  11. That rare thing in modern music, you feel Deerhunter grow with each second of song that passes, a band who delight in running under their own graceful steam rather than gasping at the airs of others.
  12. The recording is their cleanest yet, but worry not--there's plenty of ambience and guitar noise to be had. [Fall 2008, p.74]
  13. 80
    Microcastle could be 4AD's best release in well over a decade. [Dec 2008, p.108]
  14. Microcastle proves that Deerhunter can make music that sounds very different from what they'd done before, yet still feels of a piece with their body of work.
  15. 80
    Where Cox's Atlas Sound output is scattered and eclectic, Microcastle, Deerhunter's third album, is focused and consistent.
  16. Fresh on the heels of his deliciously spooky Atlas Sound solo album, the bizarre and beguiling Bradford Cox outdid himself again on his Brooklyn-based band's third record.
  17. If you’re not up on that stuff, Microcastle may seem like a more impressive creative breakthrough than it actually is, which could explain the gushy reviews.
  18. The placement of certain tracks on Microcastle are an obvious glaring weakness, but one cannot take away the pure execution and quality of the songs.
  19. Another winner full of eerie beauty and restraint.
  20. 80
    The constant fluidity here makes the album’s unpredictability seem grounded and cohesive instead of erratic.
  21. In Deerhunter’s latest songs Mr. Cox sings about time, perception, crucifixion and murder, while the band maintains its gift for realizing just how far a small idea can be carried through repetition and accretion.
  22. It's a very consistent record, with lots of wide-open spaces and quivering quietness, and just about every sound seems to fit perfectly exactly where it sits.
  23. Continuing the convention-defying structure that Deerhunter pioneered with "Cryptograms," Microcastle starts slow and spirals into something much larger.
  24. It’s an excellent indie starter kit for the kids just plucking “Loveless” out of the bin.
  25. Smartly, Microcastle stops short of alienating, an adjective more than a few scribes have lobbed at "Cryptograms."
  26. 70
    Scary. And at times, scary good. [Nov 2008, p.73]
  27. 70
    The ’Hunter may not have bagged a 14-point buck this time around, but Microcastle is still good enough to stuff and mount on the wall.
  28. On the group's third album, the usually extroverted singer, known for sporting dresses onstage, seems to be withdrawing, embracing a more delicate, acid-dipped sound. Microcastle has only one rave-up, but it's a killer: 'Nothing Ever Happened.'
  29. The richly recorded songs spool out with a natural ease. [Nov 2008, p.154]
  30. The music doesn’t go far enough--it’s too restrained and mellow--but the point of view is crystal clear. This is alternative rock clinically perfected in a perpetual adolescence.
  31. By discarding the hazy ambience of "Cryptograms" and revealing their winsome heart, Deerhunter have rewarded those who applauded their bravery and may even convince the doubters that they are as significant an act as their fans have faithfully prognosticated.
  32. Less visceral than "Cryptograms," this follow-up shows two sides of a group that still hasn't quite figured out exactly what they want to be.
  33. 60
    Much of this album sounds like its been stitched together from 4AD's finest moments. [Dec 2008, p.88]
  34. An intriguingly woozy melange of out-of-focus vocals, feedback squalls and metronomic beats, everything coming together just so on the compelling 'Nothing Ever Happened.' [Nov 2008, p.121]
  35. Deerhunter's latest features more pop melodies and fuzzy soundscapes, forsaking the raw, intense sound we all love.
User Score
9.0

Universal acclaim- based on 80 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 21
  2. Negative: 0 out of 21
  1. joes
    Nov 7, 2008
    10
    This is probably the best album of the year. There's no filler in this album specially with tracks like Agoraphobia, Neither of us This is probably the best album of the year. There's no filler in this album specially with tracks like Agoraphobia, Neither of us Uncertainly and Microcastle. Highly Recommended. Full Review »
  2. marko
    Oct 3, 2009
    10
    Really a remarkable album; i would argue that this was my favorite of the decade.
  3. Chris
    May 12, 2009
    10
    A really awesome album that has made this band one of my favorites.