Sound — 10
Where Deerhunter's catchy pop tunes have been buried between long, self-indulgent experimental tracks and under layers of noise, on the band's newest EP "Rainwater Cassette Exchange", the band has found the perfect balance between noise and melody, between lo-fi murkiness and catchy pop sensibilities. The album displays the obvious influence of the noisy guitars of pre-loveless My Bloody Valentine and of the cool indie indifference of post-Psychocandy Jesus and Mary Chain, but that's not to say that the members of Deerhunter are just copying. They point to their influences tastefully (the swooning guitars on the title tracks being an obvious homage to My Bloody Valentine") but retain a sound that is unmistakeably Deerhunter. On this album, the band manages to create a diverse and interesting soundscape, moving between soft, drowsy melodies and throbbing, driving tracks, between cool, linear indie songs and exotic conga beats. Unlike Deerhunter's other releases, which had a tendency to drone on, this EP simply whizes by, but not without displaying Deerhunter's unique creativity and eccentricity.
Lyrics — 10
Deerhunter's music has always had a tendency towards inconsistency, a quality that is especially evident in vocalist Bradford Cox's lyricism. Where the band's previous effort "Microcastles" leaped haphazardly between the stream-of-consciousness lyrics of the single "Agoraphobia" to the strange recital of events of "Saved by Old Times", the lyricism on "Rainwater Cassette Exchange" is much more concise and (dare I say) sensical. On this album, Deerhunter demonstrate that it is possible to adopt solid pop structures without falling into the trap of writing vague or impersonal lyrics. Bradford Cox has evolved into an accomplished lyricist and songwriter in a genre that seldom pays much attention to lyricism.
Overall Impression — 10
Though it is only a short EP, "Rainwater Cassette Exhange" demonstrates the unmistakeable progress Deerhunter has made since "Microcastles". Though they can vaguely be called a part of explosion of new shoegazing bands that has emerged in the past years, Deerhunter stand out from contemporaries like A Place To Bury Strangers and The Silversun Pickups, who never seem to be able to release an album that sounds as "together" as this one. The track "Disappearing Ink" stands out as the most compelling song as the album, with its urgent bass, pounding drums, and claustrophobic mix drowning out Cox's melodic yelling and haunting backing vocals. The exotic, Velvet Underground-influenced beats of "Game of Diamonds" also make for a haunting, memorable track. On "Rainwater Cassette Exchange", Deerhunter have crafted a collection of accessible songs without sacrificing their originality. Through the lo-fi production there shines infectiously catchy indie-pop songs that you'll find yourself humming for days.