ALBUM REVIEW: Deerhoof
For many people unfamiliar with the band Deerhoof, their music can be difficult to describe and comprehend, often leaving first-time listeners confused yet entertained. From vocalist Satomi Matsuzaki’s childlike voice and lyrics, to percussionist Greg Saunier’s bombastic drum work, Deerhoof remain an eclectic group of musicians that have been refining their many different sounds over the past 16 years. Forming in 1994, many would be quick to label their sound “alternative” or to use an updated version, “indie.” However, at the core of the matter both of those terms are quite accurate when describing the band.
Deerhoof is definitely alternative when juxtaposed with the Katy Perry’s and Maroon 5’s currently clogging up the Top 40. Yet Deerhoof also falls into the indie category by sheer default of their constant presence on the CMJ charts and having never released an album on a major record label. On their tenth studio release,Deerhoof vs. Evil, the band continues to excel at what they do best: creating clever pop music while incorporating numerous instruments and styles that all come together under the umbrella of what is popularly known as art rock (a subgenre of indie-rock.)
Deerhoof vs. Evil doesn’t lend itself to having any spectacular standout tracks. “Secret Mobilization” could easily be confused with the following track “Hey I Can” due to Matsuzaki’s unintelligible and often confusing lyrics, coupled with the band’s penchant for sudden break-downs and angular melodies. What the majority of the cuts off the 12-track album do provide is a defining moment in Deerhoof’s career as being an acquired yet highly favorable taste.
Worthy of noting is that Deerhoof vs. Evil marks a significant change for the quartet as this is their first record with Illinois-based Polyvinyl Records, after having released the bulk of their albums via the Kill Rock Stars record label or its former imprint, 5 Rue Christine.