Deerhoof

Deerhoof vs. Evil

Polyvinyl

Feb 04, 2011 Issue #34 - Year End 2010 - Sufjan Stevens Bookmark and Share


There's really only one way to approach a new Deerhoof album: with the expectation that you didn't really see it coming. The band, after roughly 15 years, is still reliably unpredictable.

They've also developed into an admirably accomplished unit, one that's obviously fearless in sketching out thorny ideas and seeing them to fruition. Even when an end result isn't huggably accessible, Deerhoof is gifted in managing to wring the most from an idea and still present it as something you can hum.

Consider the instrumental intricacies of "Qui Dorm, Nomes Somia." What begins as hyper-driven calypso abruptly shifts into a bass-driven lope, and then what seems to be a collision of the ideas, riding to its finish in a wide-vista climax that recalls Yes' "Siberian Khatru." Proggy Deerhoof? Don't laugh; these guys are so unsettlingly in-sync as players that Rush might be watching their backs.

A startling series of shifting ideas sets up "The Merry Barracks" to play like a mini rock opera. Razor-sharp guitar-driven art-rock meets '60s-flavor pop for an ambitious, if not exactly seamless, pastiche.

If the aforementioned tracks sound like a trek through heavy woods,

Deerhoof vs. Evil does offer its fair share of music that, for this band, could be called immediate and somewhat conventional. Satomi Matsuzaki delivers some lovely vocals for the acoustic "No One Asked to Dance." "Let's Dance the Jet" is fun, space-age pop with guitar-powered booster jets, and the rock thump of "Secret Mobilization" comes as something of a surprise with the band playing it (mostly) straight throughout.

Throughout the band's catalogue there have been plenty of moments ripe for commercial appropriation, and the beat-happy "Super Duper Rescue Heads!" (with Matsuzaki singing "Me to the rescue!") is but one possible offering here. Regardless of any breakout potential, Deerhoof vs. Evil provides one more set of indelible hoof prints that mere feet can't quite duplicate. (www.myspace.com/deerhoof)

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