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In No Way Offensive!
on 31 October 2008
I only recently became aware of Deerhoof, having my ears pricked up by the wonderfully frenetic "Inner Meet Me" on 6Music during the summer of 2008. I was immediately hooked and had no hesitation in purchasing the LP "Friend Opportunity" from which that tune was taken. This was 2 months ago, and I have to confess that "Friend Opportunity" has been a constant on my CD player ever since. In short, I have been utterly seduced by the twisted, stop-start rock offered up by these masters of invention.
Naturally, I had to purchase a copy of this follow-up LP, "Offend Maggie". It is an altogether more stripped down affair than its predecessor. Where "Friend" was bold and brassy with a smattering of additional instruments and a buffed up, shiny studio treatment, "Offend Maggie" consists mainly of the basics - guitar, bass 'n' drums. Immediately noticeable too is the consistent presence of acoustic guitar, adding to the rough and ready feel of this album. The whole thing sounds like it was recorded in a dusty, cobweb-strewn basement!
Of course, this is a good thing. "Offend Maggie" posesses an intimacy that the comparatively poppy "Friend..." does not have. The execution is similar - enthralling changes in tempo, catchy vocal interludes, distorted guitars bursting out of cheap amplifiers, superbly syncopated drum breaks and...of course...those child-like vocals. The presence of picked acoustic guitar also lends some of the numbers an endearing pagan quality. Pagan Punk, anyone?....... No? Why not?!
Highlights for me at the moment include the suitably bouncy "Basket Ball..." with its devilishly cheeky guitars and mentally unhinged cheerleader vocal line ("Go! Go! Champions!"). I also love "Eaguro Guro", which contains a guitar progression that can only be described as MENACING. Still, of course, this being Deerhoof, there are about a thousand different musical ideas jostling for space on this marvellous album.