Monomania - Deerhunter
Metascore
81

Universal acclaim - based on 41 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 35 out of 41
  2. Negative: 0 out of 41
  1. 100
    Consider me converted, at least until Bradford Cox lurches off in yet another direction.
  2. 100
    There is a form of mania at work here, but the results are propulsive and ecstatic.
  3. May 7, 2013
    93
    Don’t blink--no mere mid-career album, Monomania registers as an absolute impact event, a massive dirty blast marking the moment Deerhunter’s steady trajectory spins out of control.
  4. 91
    It is not a return to form, because how could we expect or want it to be? It is a return to the contextually avant-garde, and for Deerhunter in 2013 that means rock n’ roll.
  5. 90
    This kind of hunger, this kind of uphill battle and this kind of gritty determination leaks out onto Monomania with tremendous results; the ending fruition is another gleaming winner for Cox and Deerhunter.
  6. Jun 18, 2013
    90
    Monomania is stacked with track-to-track unshakable, albeit twisted, pop melodies and an atmosphere of unrest that will stick with you between repeated listens. [No.99, p.52]
  7. May 7, 2013
    90
    An impishly brilliant 12-song set of scruffy garage rock with moments of dreamy shimmer, Monomania leaves no confusion about what sort of band Deerhunter are: one that won't stoop to conquer.
  8. May 7, 2013
    90
    Taken as a whole, Monomania is arguably their most imposing, and by far their most courageous, proving that Deerhunter have a frontman who’s willing to open up his soul to fit the demands of the stage.
  9. May 6, 2013
    90
    It's an intense, sometimes violent, occasionally beautiful rock'n'roll record that once again proves the unpredictability and reliability of Deerhunter.
  10. May 10, 2013
    85
    Initially intending to discard the songs he wrote during that [dark] period, he instead salvaged many of them, which serve as something of a spiritual cleanse on the staggering Monomania.
  11. May 7, 2013
    83
    Monomania feels less like a collection of songs that belong together and more like simply a group of great tunes.
  12. 83
    The music sounds more hot-blooded and feral. [10 May 2013, p.67]
  13. May 3, 2013
    83
    Monomania is certainly a strong effort on its own merits, and more importantly, they’ve avoided making their deflating “diminishing returns” record.
  14. May 8, 2013
    82
    Monomania demands an undivided attention and continuous play to truly see the beauty within its surrealism.
  15. May 20, 2013
    80
    Here comes irascible, unhousetrained indie-rock, laced with discord and lo-fi gnarl, yet thoroughly fresh and weirdly magnetic from start to finish. [Jun 2013, p.84]
  16. May 13, 2013
    80
    A delicious vision of pop crooked enough to pull corks with. [Jun 2013, p.96]
  17. 80
    Its mood is all over the place, but that suits it.
  18. May 9, 2013
    80
    What it is, is a fine follow-up to 2009’s Halcyon Digest and another example of what can happen when a brilliant songwriter retreats into his own head and comes out with visions of monsters.
  19. While it’s certainly not what anyone thought a new Deerhunter album would sound like three years removed from the world of Halcyon Digest, the band certainly succeeds in their goal of crafting “nocturnal garage, and the album’s high points--namely “Monomania,” “Punk,” “The Missing” and “T.H.M.”--are some of the best songs the group has ever recorded.
  20. May 7, 2013
    80
    It’s half as strange as anything Deerhunter or Atlas Sound has made before, but twice as reflective of, well, music.
  21. May 6, 2013
    80
    Monomania is an easy album to become monomaniac about.
  22. May 2, 2013
    80
    It’s kind of sloppy, but it also sounds pretty astonishing cranked up loud, and despite the mixed emotional messages I suspect it’ll find its calling this summer as the band’s most fun album.
  23. May 2, 2013
    80
    Monomania somehow makes Deerhunter’s previous albums sound like they were controlled and constrained, as if it took four albums for Cox to finally be the shit disturber he’s always wanted to be.
  24. 80
    While Cox is no stranger to gut-spilling, it feels as poignant as ever on this record.
  25. May 21, 2013
    78
    Despite a pronounced lean towards the gritty in all its finer trappings, Deerhunter’s fifth longplayer is riddled with some of Cox’s most structurally sound songwriting.
  26. Apr 29, 2013
    78
    Like Cox, Monomania is an enigma, wrapped in distortion.
  27. It may not reach the same creative highs or artistic wholeness of their previous releases, but in its own right, it can be just as enjoyable.
  28. May 21, 2013
    70
    Monomania is the sound of a healthy and aware group of musicians who have experimented with artifice and ultimately moved beyond it.
  29. 70
    It’s a cagey, manic record that tethers the band’s new-American muscle to Cox’s longstanding self-immolation.
  30. May 7, 2013
    70
    Monomania will be remembered as the album where Deerhunter veered from their carefully acquired sound as opposed to constructing a more pronounced encapsulation of it.
  31. May 7, 2013
    70
    There is clearly no quietude in Cox's frantic mind, but his obsession yields beauty.
  32. May 6, 2013
    70
    By turns raw and reflective, Monomania is about shaking things up; it's not as grand or cohesive as Microcastle or Halcyon Digest, but with repeated listens, its quick shifts in sound and mood feel more like different sides of the same coin than a split personality.
  33. May 6, 2013
    70
    Deerhunter wins more than it loses on Monomania.
  34. May 6, 2013
    70
    For the album’s driving first half, the messiness is captivating, culminating in “Dream Captain,” reminiscent of T. Rex on “Bang a Gong.” The second half teeters on standard bohemian dissipation, but with a sly and rare self-knowingness.
  35. Apr 29, 2013
    70
    Cox's wistful croon and a proto-motorik chug are as wonderfully deadly as ever. [Jun 2013, p.71]
  36. Jun 4, 2013
    60
    Monomania retains those same Deerhunter kernels if you’re willing to forage. You might get your fingers grubby, but the fruit, often deep inside the shell, is still delicious.
  37. May 9, 2013
    60
    It's hard not to yearn for the melodies to be served by a little more clarity.
  38. May 8, 2013
    60
    The raspy sonics can’t mask some of their most shrug-worthy songs to date.
  39. Apr 29, 2013
    60
    As unconventional in approach as ever, the set extrapolates from their previous ventures and results in a confident and competent continuation of established qualities.
  40. May 3, 2013
    50
    Whereas both Deerhunter and Atlas Sound albums typically reflect the obsessive brilliance and meticulous pathos of Cox's personality, there's few signs of either on Monomania, which is in dire need of a little less impulse and a bit more OCD.
  41. May 1, 2013
    50
    Most of the album sounds like a kaleidoscope of every “indie” rock archetype, to the point that, whilst it's never debatable that Monomania is a Deerhunter record, you still find yourself thinking of Silversun Pickups, The Black Keys, The Flaming Lips or Arcade Fire, not necessarily with positive comparisons in mind.
User Score
8.1

Universal acclaim- based on 45 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 8
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 8
  3. Negative: 0 out of 8
  1. May 7, 2013
    10
    Ditching the ethereal shoe-gaze pop of 2010's excellent Halcyon Digest, Deerhunter opt instead for a chaotic, raunchy, and maximizedDitching the ethereal shoe-gaze pop of 2010's excellent Halcyon Digest, Deerhunter opt instead for a chaotic, raunchy, and maximized interpretation of a rock record, done in Deerhunter's penchant for the bizarre. The influences span from glam rock T-Rex riffing on Leather Jacket II to Americana Johnny Cash on Pensacola. Locket Pundt, the auxiliary song-writer, is rendered to a solely supporting musician, except on the excellent track "the missing." This is Bradford Cox's album, and it is fantastic. I can't think of a more compelling, difficult, and exciting direction Deerhunter could take, and now they are taking rock and roll forward with them. Hopefully more fantastic music like this is on the way. Full Review »
  2. May 10, 2013
    8
    If Monomania is the first Deerhunter album that you pick up, you will have a totally different idea of what the band is than if you are aIf Monomania is the first Deerhunter album that you pick up, you will have a totally different idea of what the band is than if you are a returning fan. Maybe that’s why I am not high on this album like I feel I should be. The follow up to the 2010 classic, Halcyon Digest is an almost total departure from the sound that I so enjoyed on that release. There were jangling guitars, moody instrumentals, and a knack for great melodies. Monomania is essentially a garage rock album that ditches a lot of the aspects that worked on Digest. There is a much heavier emphasis on guitars and Bradford Cox’s vocal style has changed a little bit into a kind of sneering delivery. As someone that loved Halcyon Digest, I came into this album with very high expectations and they just weren’t met.

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    Full Review »
  3. May 7, 2013
    9
    Deerhunter follows up Halcyon Digest with Monomania, which favors raw distortion blended with melodic rock n' roll. Its a very calculatedDeerhunter follows up Halcyon Digest with Monomania, which favors raw distortion blended with melodic rock n' roll. Its a very calculated change of pace over the ambient shoegaze feel of the last two fantastic records. Full Review »