There is so much good music coming out soon that my brain just can’t handle it, especially since bands keep releasing singles and I keep loving them. This week it’s Deerhunter, who have returned from a few years out with Monomania( a song whose title becomes very obvious after about 2 minutes), and Queens of the Stone Age and their track, My God Is The Sun. It’s the first hint of their album Like Clockwork, a first release in six years and one that seems to feature EVERYONE EVER. Seriously, they have Elton John on it. Elton John. On a Queens of the Stone Age album. Wow.
Compared to how robo-rockin Era Vulgaris was, My God Is The Sun is actually pretty straightforward stuff; although it certainly retains all the rockin’. It sounds a bit like the Dave Grohl inspired fury of Songs For The Deaf, which it should since he’s back behind the drums, mixed with the stranger crooniness that Josh Homme dabbled in on Lullabies to Paralyze. It’s loud, brash and bodes well, even if I am a little disappointed that they haven’t continued down the Era Vulgaris route. Then again, considering who they’ve recruited, this could still, and probably will, be an overwhelmingly strange piece of stoner rock. So maybe they’re just playing it safe with this single.
Homme has always seemed to have something of a golden touch, in spite of being a total bastard in real life, and I can’t imagine his central venture spawning his first slip-up. I mean just look what he did with the Arctic Monkeys – they’re like a totally different, and in my opinion vastly superior, band ever since they spent like two months in the desert with him. They’re back in the desert now on their own album and chip in on QOTSA’s new one too, obviously. I still only imagine these bands recording in vast, empty deserts. Like literally just them, sand, more sand, dead life, a guitar and Elton John. How can they go wrong?
A message before you listen to Deerhunter’s new track – do exactly what that top comment on Youtube says. I know every inch of your body resists deliberately lowering the quality of a video below like 480p, but seriously, do it. Right down to 144p. Lowest of the low. I have no idea why this makes the song sound better but it really, really does. It just sounds weird and disjointed unless you lower it into some kind of primordial fuzzy internet mush. All those guitars that seem at odds with each other stop clashing awkwardly and become a weird, distinctly Deerhunter blur; the vocals, never exactly clear before, sound better when they’re drowned deeper in distortion; the drums, before much too prevalent and clear, become the kind of general thumpy sound base that is all this song really needs.
Awkward, distorted and just weird – vintage Deerhunter then, especially gangly frontman Bradford Cox. He’s really tall and skinny and stuff. It’s a condition. The monster at the end of REC is played by a guy with it, though fortunately Bradford isn’t that horrifying. He is very strange looking though.
But back to the song. It’s definitely a development of the stuff from their last album, Halcyon Digest, though, if this is the signature track, I’m not sure it’ll top it. That would be an unreasonable ask anyway since Halcyon was so good, but still, I like where they’re going on this. The vocals are scratchier than normal, which is a bit of a shame since he has such a nice voice, but it fits the rougher sound. The lushness and airy, almost nostalgic atmosphere of Halcyon seems gone too, swept under by the distortion and shouts of MONOMONOMANIAMONOMONOMANIAMONOMONOMANIA. It’s almost like they’ve taken a song like Revival and just absolutely smothered it in fuzz. It leaves it feeling colder and less subtle but it still works, it can get by on funkiness. It’s true, in parts, but still, I seriously just described them as ‘funky’. They’ve been moving towards a more accessible sound for a while now and this could be the one where they finally go straight up rock, albeit with shades of shoegaze, as usual.
That refrain really sticks in your head though, and I just cannot it out of my head right now. Monomania is a weird thing to have loop in your mind.