The Fluorescent Grey EP is a companion to Deerhunter’s second full-length, Cryptograms, that arrives not as a collection of outtakes, but a glimpse at the band’s evolution-in-progress. Whereas Cryptograms stretches abstract moments in rhythm, emotion and nostalgia across an entire album, Fluorescent Grey switches gears by focusing on concise song structure. Songs like “Wash Off” and “Like New” echo the shimmering distortion of Cryptograms, but there’s a discernable departure in both the clarity of the recording and the tempered pace of each number. As such it is a pop counterweight to the proper album's long, sustained ambiance. The fact that the vinyl edition of the EP arrives packaged together with the the full-length only underscores the relationship between the two recordings; both are best experienced side-by-side.
The title track harnesses shoegazer overdrive as frontman Bradford Cox layers high falsetto and deep baritone vocalizations, achieving a subtly pandrogynous effect. The death-afflicted lyrics, juxtaposed with the shimmering, sonic qualities of the music jam the senses with both sadness and elation. “Dr. Glass” builds around the noises of antiquated fidelity and drums that glow with a warped pop hue. The EP serves as an epilogue to Cryptograms by expanding on the album’s finest moments, and bringing Deerhunter’s sound to a sharp, cohesive point.