Deerhunter’s eighth studio album, Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared? is strange and meditating — an album of questions concerning the fate of civilization packed into a brief package of experimental pop.
The self- proclaimed “ambient punk” group has been around for nearly two decades and have an impressive list of albums under their belt. On this release, Deerhunter seems to go from flirting with accessibility to fully plunging into it. With such heavy and contemplative themes, the album feels like it could have been much longer, but it didn’t need to be.
The opening track and lead single, “Death in Midsummer” immediately pulls the listener in, inviting them to “Come down from that cloud / and cast your fears aside.” The lulled melody builds up into a synth-backed guitar solo before subduing again. The song closes with the words “Walk around and you’ll see how it fades” which seems like both a preface for the rest of the album and a general word of advice — observe.
Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared? does seem like a sequel to their 2015 release, Fading Frontier, as the band further delves into
“Détournement” shifts the second half of the album into further strangeness with a slow, robotic voice before “Futurism” takes over. This track commands the listener’s attention with a beautiful, straightforward rhythm. The phrase “Your cage is what you make it, if you decorate it” immediately stands out, and perhaps even sums up what the album is about. It’s a stark and fitting observation of a modern dystopian world.
Though there is still a great deal of Deerhunter’s typical crypticness on the album, it can best be described as the musical equivalent of a science fiction movie. The closing track, “Nocturne” sounds like we are witnessing the actual death of a robot and somehow that feels like the best ending to this peculiar piece of art.