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Album Reviews, Audio Feedback: Music Blogjams

Deerhoof vs Evil – Deerhoof (Polyvinyl Records)


So, 10 albums in and Deerhoof have finally got round to purging the world of evil. Busy in the past with petty distractions like aggravating the ‘Milk Man’, looking for a ‘Friend Opportunity’ or gamely trying to ‘Offend Maggie’, Deerhoof have reached the point where they’re brave enough to go out and save the world. That’s right kids, Deerhoof want to KILL evil.

But what is evil to Deerhoof? What exactly are they fighting against?

Well, conventional song structures might be one. Verses? Choruses? Why, they’re nothing but blood-gargling demons sent to strangle originality in the eyes and ears of Deerhoof. Sticking resolutely to one genre might be another. If you feel like plucking away on a Spanish guitar mid-song then just damn well pluck away already! But the biggest, most evilest evil of all evils to Deerhoof would appear to be taking yourself too seriously.

I’ve listened to two new albums in the past few days: Ritual by White Lies and Deerhoof vs Evil. The contrast between the levels of enjoyment available on each album is stark. White Lies are so desperate to ape the post-punk tradition of Joy Division and Interpol that I can almost picture the grim determination on their faces as they painfully constructed their stale, formulaic imitations. “No! Not moody enough!” they whine pale-faced at each other. “That chorus isn’t soaring! It should be soaring! I must show off how much like Paul Banks I can sound!” Boooooooorrrrrring.

Regardless of your opinions on the merits of Deerhoof’s sound, “boring”, as an accusation, just doesn’t cut it. They’re too wacky, too eclectic, and too persistent in their eagerness to come scampering at you, crashing and clanging, like a pesky 5 year old bringing you their endless clamour, until you either give in and indulge them or order them to shut the fucking hell up. And yet, strangely, this mania never comes across as messy or disorganised. Far from it. This is a band that, 10 albums down, are operating on a level of self-assurance that means whatever childish whim suddenly takes hold, it slots snugly into their bendy diagrams of sound without the merest hint of a misfire. For me, they’re like Subtle, shorn of the hip-hop; tailor-made for Flaming Lips and Dirty Projectors fanatics.

And with ‘Super Duper Rescue Heads!’ they’ve produced an early contender for hilarious song title of the year… heck, maybe even song of the year? But wait, no. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. It’s only February after all.

Ch-Check it out if you’re partial to – their first 9 albums, Flaming Lips (second week in a row), Subtle, Dirty Projectors, krautrock, not listening to White Lies, papery vocals, expecting the unexpected, songs that sound like you’re taking on the final boss in a platform computer game but he’s a relentless mutherfucker that just WON’T DIE (Let’s Dance The Jet), defeating evil.

Fantastic Track – Super Duper Rescue Heads!


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