So there you have it, the new Deerhoof LP. They just keep making great records, and have done ever since Rob Fisk’s time.
What a record. Despite it (seemingly) being about breaking up… Deerhoof are a fine band, and one with a reputation that will get them plenty of press and lots of people far more important than Incendiary will go on about this elsewhere on the net: but for once we’re going to join in the noise. We just felt compelled to write about this record, it’s such a heady, ditzy mix of all that can be wonderful about pop music. Like one of those ridiculously powerful Thai soups - where they throw bucket loads of every ingredient in but still balance the end result – this is an overwhelming ride: a riot of colour and surprises.
The thing that characterises this record is its pace. It’s not desperate for you to love it from the off – it builds up into a near scramble of sultry, classic pop hooks and beats by the end but has a unfussy, business-like approach to setting out its stall with the first few numbers. The opener Breakup Songs is a kind of slow burner, a wallflower; its winsomeness given form by some crunchy beats. And tracks like Bad Kids to The Front and There’s That Grin remind me of the way mid 70’s Can or Funkadelic used to make these ever more steaming pop hooks to plan your disco moves to. You can feel things building up but you just have to wait for the release….
The LP explodes into a party by Zero Seconds Pause, and from then on the record’s just roller coasting on some glorious sugary hooks and some ridiculous party beats through Mothball on the Fleet, (the tremendous) Flower, The Trouble With Candyhands and We Do Parties. Of course, this being Deerhoof, the idea of having a song that just sounded like a song would be utter heresy; but on Breakup Song the cut ups and radical changes of direction and shifts in texture are held together with some charm and deftness. The ridiculous "butter wouldn’t melt" vocal affectations work really well, too; singer Satomi Matsuzaki sounds almost revoltingly cute & deadpan on Mario’s Flaming Whiskers III.
Deerhoof have always boasted something of that feeling of attractive alienation the Pixies had, too. What I mean by that is, on tracks like The Trouble With Candyhands or Fete D’Adieu you can imagine everything that the singer sings, nothing is meant to be inaccessible, but it’s just from somewhere else, some other reflection from the prism that is the human psyche. “I’m coming to you from a speaker deep inside” Indeed.
So there you have it, the new Deerhoof LP. They just keep making great records, and have done ever since Rob Fisk’s time… It’s a timely reminder in this suffocating, sapping fug of releases that are just half-baked ideas and smug, half meant gesturing that being direct, simple and human, and sticking to your vision pays off. Be brave!