deerhunter_epDeerhunter have been accused of many things in their time in the limelight, but being slackers can hardly be one of them. The seventh release related to the band to emerge in the past two years, following three full-length albums (and two under the Atlas Sound and Lotus Plaza monikers) as well as an EP, Rainwater Cassette Exchange seems to exist as a microcosm of Microcastle. The EP’s five tracks are all muscle and no fat; only two tracks go past the three minute mark, seemingly building on the last album’s diversions into taut, yet dreamy, pop music.The strangely tropical title track certainly seems to pick up right where ‘Twilight at Carbon Lake’ left off, swapping its Everly Brothers affectations for an undeniable Joe Meek influence, which sounds at once alien, yet somehow unmistakeably Deerhunter. Characteristically drenched in reverb, the song chugs purposefully along for its two and a half minutes, with Bradford Cox’s languid vocal line weaving through the mix. Driven by a rhythm section that sounds positively kinetic, ‘Disappearing Ink’ certainly brings the tempo up, edging strangely close to Strokes territory, albeit if The Strokes dabbled in Krautrock. Still, the track sounds oddly by-numbers and, on an EP that’s comprised mainly of two-minute instant-classics, this is certainly its weak link. Fortunately, ‘Famous Last Words’ is that rarest of beasts - a muscular garage pop anthem with a killer theremin hook – and closes side one with a bang.The least characteristic thing here is ‘Game of Diamonds’; an unexpectedly sparse ballad, the track is completely void of any of the band’s signature droning guitars, with Cox’s swirling melody instead decorated by some ghostly slide guitar and insistent piano chords. ‘Circulation’, the EP’s final song (and also its longest), brings things back to more recognisable territory being, as it is, the only point where Deerhunter take the decision to sprawl. Fading in on a spiralling guitar line, the track is powered by Moses Archuleta’s stuttering groove, while the song’s halfway point marks a descent into minimalist melodies and a creepy sound collage, reminiscent of Microcastle highlight ‘Nothing Ever Happens’.Rainwater Cassette Exchange certainly seems much more lightweight than any of Deerhunter’s previous releases, but that hardly renders its contents inconsequential. The almost disposable nature of many of these tracks, at least in comparison with much of their darker, more personal material, simply seems to be another stage in the band’s ever-developing soundworld. Whether or not this is the start of an effort to rid the band of “all sickness and sorrow” (as ‘Famous Last Words’ would have it) is unclear; what is certain is that Deerhunter’s career is still developing at a pace that is as fascinating as it is frenetic.72%Deerhunter on Myspace