Deerhunter – Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared?

As its title implies, Deerhunter’s eighth studio album Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared? asks deep and depressing questions about how art pertains to our current global situation. At least that’s a feasible, if not over-simplistic, interpretation of what happened when Bradford Cox trusted his creative vision with fellow brilliant mind and co-producer Cate Le Bon.

Le Bon is just one of several credited producers, along with Ben H. Allen III, Ben Etter, and Deerhunter itself. Still, it’s hard not to marvel at seeing the Welsh-born, Los Angeles-based Le Bon listed as a musician and producer on the first Deerhunter album since 2015.

Instead of a multi-guitar attack, album opener “Death in Midsummer” begins with harpsichord accompaniment via Le Bon and builds up to a song that sounds more like a transmission from space than a Baroque pop homage. “No One’s Sleeping,” a commentary on the 2016 murder of British Labor Party MP Helen Joanne Cox, keeps the surprises coming while taking apparent cues from The Kinks. After that, a synth and drum instrumental titled “Greenpoint Gothic” offers the strongest evidence yet that you’re in for an unpredictable ride.

From there, the band laments ecological threats (“Elements”), wrestles against nostalgia (“Futurism,” “Plains”) and asks “What Happens to People,” with all four songs continuing “Death in Midsummer’s” blend of classic and otherworldly sounds. They also provide the soundtrack for your next nightmare with “Detournement,” “Tarnung,” and “Nocturne.” Whether the songs’ tones are jubilant or jarring, each selection shows the emotional and musical depth expected from one of Atlanta’s greatest musical exports.

It’s a fine addition to the Deerhunter canon by Cox, guitarist Lockett Pundt, drummer Moses Archuleta, bassist Josh McKay, and a huge contributor to the latest evolution in band’s sound, keyboardist and saxophonist Javier Morales.

Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared?