What can I say about Deerhoof that hasn't already been said? Insane, experimental, catchy, and wildly unpredictable.
And listeners can be reassured that they have definitely not sold out with "Friend Opportunity," their latest collection of completely insane pop-rock. It has a few weak tracks, but some new instrumentation twists keep it sounding fresh.
It opens with a frenetic guitar melody overlaid with ominous-sounding keyboard and a few sweeps of synth. The demented, catchy melody is sprinkled with Satomi Matsuzaki's childlike vocals, as she sings sweetly, "Cry out, cry out... meet me, meet me."
And with a blast of trumpets, they veer into the synth-speckled, rough indie-rock of "+81," before trying out some other styles. Without rhyme or reason, I add. They'll try anything at all: sparkling funk, hard-rock ballads, frantic noiserock, mischievous glitchpop, and a shimmering piano ballad in "Whither the Invisible Birds".
Right up to the twelve-minute finale, the schizophrenic "Look Away" that tries out half a dozen styles, from shoegazer to spacerock. It gets more and more hypnotic as it descends into chaos, before suddenly settling into a soft ballad..
One of the first things to know about Deerhoof is that they have no fixed "sound." Another is that they'll craft a chaotic rock melody out of any sound, and change dramatically if things get too dull. In fact, the only lackluster track here is one that stays too long in one style.
And they're still in fine form, with rapid-fire percussion, staccato piano, twinkly synth, swirling guitars, and what sounds like a mellotron (or an organ?). In fact, all these sounds mesh together with lots of littler sounds -- they will make a guitar melody sparkle with synth, and throw in some blats and cowbells too. It's brilliant.
Matsuzaki has the exact voice you WOULDN'T expect from a band like this -- clear, pure and sweet. I guess it has to be, if she's going to be heard over the music. And though the lyrics are hard to hear, they sound pretty humorous and plasantly unpretentious.
Deerhoof don't disappoint in their ninth album, the wonderful "Friend Opportunity." Completely insane, and very entertaining.