Deerhoof: Offend Maggie

Think what you will of Deerhoof – if you think of them at all – but know that whether you call them cute, noisy, awesome or annoying, you have to admit that they’ve got originality and ambition to spare. The San Francisco noise-pop darlings of the Kill Rock Stars roster are no less intriguing than usual on their ninth full-length studio album, with vocalist Satomi Matsuzaki sweetly cooing her regular mix of minimalist Japanese and English lyrics about a random assortment of topics (in this case, stalker boyfriends, God, and basketball, among other things), while her bandmates alternately churn out delicate yet forceful melodic thumpers (“Chandelier Searchlight”), prog-like dirges anchored by guitar arpeggios and piano a la Radiohead (“Buck and Judy”), and even a couple of fun stabs at a vaguely classic rock sound, straight out of Free’s “All Right Now” riff book (“The Tears and Music of Love”). The experiments with meager lyrics and unconventional song structures don’t always work – “Basket Ball get Your Groove Back” comes off like little more than an undeveloped fragment – but when they do, like on the album’s high point, “Numina O,” the results are nothing short of sublime. (Kill Rock Stars 2008)

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