Following on from what lead singer Bradford Cox has often described as a “difficult” début album, Shoegaze group Deerhunter rebounded in 2007 with the release of Cryptograms.
Still reeling somewhat from the death of Deerhunter’s original bassist, Justin Bosworth, initial attempts to record Cryptograms collapsed due to Cox’s fragile mental state.
Physically, Cox was also in difficulties. Suffering from flu and walking pneumonia, the sessions were less a band making headway and more a group falling in on themselves.
These issues were compounded by several studio problems, including uncalibrated tape recorders and and out of tune piano. Although dumped at the time, the recordings were eventually released by the band on their website.
Returning home to Atlanta, the band were encouraged by post-rock band Liars to record again.
They did, with Deerhunter returning to Radium Studios in Georgia – the studio in which they recorded their first album, albeit with clearer minds and ambition. The result, Cryptograms, was recorded in two day-long sessions; finally seeing the light of day in January 2007 to generally positive reviews.
Schizophrenic in nature, Cryptograms swept from subdued and dreamy ambient soundscapes to a harder, more psychedelic sound as it drifts toward its second half – a touch ironic given Deerhunter’s relatively “clean” nature.
Although never intended to be released as a single, video producer James Sumner created a video for “Lake Somerset”. Having recently observed turtles at zoo while hungover, Cox said that he “…wanted a video of a turtle eating a pizza.” How nice.
Within a matter of days, Sumner released the four-minute long video of him stuffing his face with pizza and drinking cola, while painted green and dressed up a human turtle.