Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Deerhoof Review

Deerhoof – Offend Maggie (2008)

Kill Rock Stars

Ever since 2004’s opus Milk Man, San Francisco’s Deerhoof have been moving closer to more melodic (poppy even) waters and I just know that some time in the future they will release the ultimate guitar anthem record. It’s in their blood and with each release they edging towards it.

Last year’s ‘Friend Opportunity’ had the band experimenting with a less muddled sound, thus making their tunes (they always had those from day one) upfront and also lead singer Satomi Matsuzaki’s voice had lost it’s shrilly edge and evolved into child-like cooing.

Needless to say that latest release ‘Offend Maggie’ is a progression from ‘Friend Opportunity’, thankfully there aren’t any twelve minute dirges this time around either. Now a four piece, the band have beefed up their sound and made a no-nonsense straight on guitar record and yet it still has those quintessential quirks that makes it undeniably Deerhoof.

Offend Maggie kicks off with ‘The Tears and Music of Love’ and the listener is practically given the blueprint of the whole album. The song itself consists of a crunchy stop start riff, which becomes elasticky and floaty during the rather beautiful chorus and grounds itself very quickly. This happens quite often throughout the album’s progression. The group have become tighter and it is welcome.

The amazing thing about Deerhoof is how they manage to have the Wire-esque ability to create a great song within a short space of time. The average two minute Deerhoof song feels doesn’t feel like some short forgettable blast but develops nicely. One of the highlights of record, ‘Basket Ball, get your Groove Back’ demonstrates the band’s ability to use brevity to their advantage. Same with the frankly awesome title track.

Most of the album alternates between these two song styles, Personally I don’t have any gripes with this record. In fact I have been listening to Offend Maggie more than I should really. It’s overall catchiness and sweetness just make me press repeat as soon as the whole thing is over. As well I just can’t help feeling that the BIG album is going to happen very soon.

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