AOTY 2020

Fading Frontier

Deerhunter - Fading Frontier
Critic Score
Based on 39 reviews
2015 Ratings: #126 / 914
Year End Rank: #22
User Score
Based on 466 ratings
2015 Ratings: #89
Liked by 2 people
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'Fading Frontier' - the most direct, unflinching album Deerhunter have ever made, and quite possibly the best - sometimes feels like the second part of a duology about breakdown and recovery, not only from the psychodrama of 'Monomania', but from the car accident Cox was hospitalised by last December.
A.V. Club

Deerhunter should be applauded for refusing to rest on its laurels by actively seeking to make a record with purpose and scope. The goals and the stakes are real for them, and in Fading Frontiers, the effort is blindingly evident.

Under The Radar

It's pretty amazing the band has followed Cox's lead with little difficulty. Or at least Fading Frontier makes it appear that way. Tight when they need to be but loose enough to explore the cosmos, Deerhunter sounds reinvigorated by the new attitude.


Fading Frontier ... certainly belongs in any discussion of their best. It’s a portrait of the young men as adult artists; it’s the closest equivalent to a major-label debut for an era when a band might as well stay independent.

While matters are not necessarily so sunny throughout the album’s entirety, never before has Deerhunter’s brand of noise been such a joyful one.

Instead of trying to make an experimental oddity for music nerds, he made an indie pop album for music fans. He went for our hearts rather than our heads.


While Deerhunter's created a number of indelible songs over their career, Fading Frontier may have their first that could conceivably blend into real-deal classic rock radio.

Consequence of Sound

At nine songs and just over 36 minutes, Fading Frontier is a filler-free opus of experimental rock splendor that never lags and always intrigues. It’s pretty sharp for a noise or garage rock album with sleek bass lines and vibrant electronic add-ons. 

The Skinny

Faded Frontier in contrast is a slow release and a desire for solitude.

Loud and Quiet

‘Fading Frontier’ represents a conscious retreat from the scuzzy claustrophobia of ‘Monomania’ and a surge towards considered, contented songcraft.

Slant Magazine
If this is the sound of a band coasting, then they're operating on such an elite plane that we should just appreciate that they bother handing in anything in at all.
The 405
The music is calmer, but his flare hasn't left with his anger, thus solidifying the album into the band's pristine legacy.
Musically and emotionally, this is one of Deerhunter's most powerful -- and delicate -- albums.
Drowned in Sound

Fading Frontier ... is the sort of record that only Deerhunter could make, a contradictory and even on paper somewhat illogical set of songs that nonetheless constitutes the most graceful set of music of the band’s career.

The Guardian

There are so many straightforwardly commercial-sounding songs here that Fading Frontier could conceivably be an album that turns Deerhunter from cult concern into mainstream success.

‘Fading Frontier’ draws a new line in the sand, and it could be the beginning of a more direct and big-thinking Deerhunter.

Ten years into that prolific career, the Atlanta quartet has produced its most accessible, consistent and possibly best work yet with sixth full-length Fading Frontier.


The growth that is present in the album is one of ideology as opposed to sound. Deerhunter are looking at the world with a refined philosophical perspective. There’s a subtle undercurrent of optimism that directs the music.


Cox’s naked sensitivity and inability to filter himself have been constants through the band’s career; on Fading Frontier, they ensure Deerhunter’s most accessible songs yet are also their most affecting.

NOW Magazine

In terms of brightness and accessibility, the album feels like an extension of their breakout record, 2008's Microcastle. Yet it's clear the band has matured in the intervening years - and they're better for it.

Pretty Much Amazing
As tasteful and comfortable as this album is, the more I played it the more it felt like a bummer.

It all means that Fading Frontier is probably Deerhunter’s fourth best album. It’s still an excellent record, but it’s just ever so slightly underwhelming.

The Line of Best Fit

Bradford Cox has deeply embedded his maturing experience into Fading Frontier – the experience of a new-found settled lifestyle.


On Fading Frontier, Deerhunter focus on their ability as a band to hypnotize and confound, which make the explosive moments here stand out that much more.

Tiny Mix Tapes
In spite of the possibility that it represents a band that has reached the end of its “natural” creative arc and is now experimenting with whatever it can, it’s a remarkably consistent album that somehow joins a finely tuned pop sensibility with a crudely wayward adventurousness.
Rolling Stone
The elliptically pretty music often summons a sense of escape and freedom that's ringed with ambiguity.

Deerhunter always find a lot to exploit in the intersection of Cox’s gloomy visions and the band’s gravity-defying pop vistas, and for the most part Fading Frontier is a rewarding immersion in diverse layers of melody and meaning. But there’s still a nagging spottiness that keeps it from reaching its full potential.


'Fading Frontier' is by no means a poor album, and truth be told really doesn't possess a bad number on it. The real issue is that in a genre filled with imitators, many whom Deerhunter no doubt inspired, we need a bit more bang for our buck. 


Coming after the progressive and corrosive Monomania, Fading Frontier feels like a slight step back.

A very pleasant Deerhunter record. It isn't necessarily remarkable, but it is certainly accessible and enjoyable. I almost like this more than Halcyon and Monomania, but less than Weird Era and Microcastle. A very different Deerhunter than we've seen, that's for sure.
Just sort of a decent effort from Deerhunter. A good album but it still feels to me as if the band just can't seem to get back to the level of quality they achieved on Halcyon Digest.

Best Track: All The Same
Worst Track: Take Care
Deerhunter creates another worthy disc to their already impressive catalog. It really delves into the mind of Bradford Cox after he had that almost fatal car accident. It's a real simple indie rock mixed with some psychedelia. It's concise, heartfelt, and pristine.
A surprising release in so much as most people would never have expected this band to deliver what skirts very close to a conventional indie pop album.

There are enough subversive and experimental touches to still remind you who you're listening to of course - but this will still probably take up the role of the slightly easy-breezy Deerhunter album you'd reach for to soundtrack a summer roadtrip.
Its very good, and shows another example of how the band can transform from album to album. A handful of Deerhunter classics are here, but my favorite is "Carrion."
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Track List

  1. All the Same
  2. Living My Life
  3. Breaker
  4. Duplex Planet
  5. Take Care
  6. Leather and Wood
  7. Snakeskin
  8. Ad Astra
  9. Carrion
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Added on: August 14, 2015