Despite what I thought I knew about Deerhoof, which is admittedly very little, I was surprised with their latest. Deerhoof Vs Evil still contains what you would expect from this band; quirks, loops, squeaky fresh vocals and a general avant-garde energy, but it also offers something else.
Proving themselves as worthy technicians as well as musicians, Deerhoof worked every angle of the album, creating a singular vision of what they think it should sound like. The result feels raw, yet polished; a slice of garage rock with a twist of Deerhoof.
Despite the ranges in genre, the tracks are linked with a child-like innocence, both in lyrics, vocal delivery and song titles. Satomi Matsuzaki’s voice perfectly fits this aesthetic, always sounding sincere and playful in equal measure. Even when things get heavy, the band never sound anything less than fun, which is my biggest compliment. Deerhoof Vs Evil is the perfect summer record and I can’t wait to put it on whilst wearing my short shorts and sunglasses.
Album highlight, No One Asked To Dance is bittersweet and pretty. Stripped of electronics and led by a fast moving acoustic guitar, this is the black sheep of the album, sounding like nothing else. The song offers two minutes of sweet charm and emotion, giving the listener something to bite in to. In contrast, Secret Mobilization offers a slice of cool, sounding almost like soul, but with grimier guitars and a very heavy breakdown. These heavy breakdowns are a frequent Deerhoof fixture and they use them very cleverly, always giving the songs a rush adrenaline if needed. Album closer, Almost Everyone Almost Always has a spacey shoegaze sound, but ends rather abruptly. I was expecting an adventurous, even epic, end to the album, but was surprised by this modest, but enjoyable piece.
To describe Deerhoof Vs Evil as humble, may sound stupid, but it’s accurate. Songs never wander, instrumentals are lean and they say what they need to say without leaping too far into obscurity. Falling into their ‘twee pop’ side, the album is a reminder that art rock doesn’t have to be dull. In fact, having fun is the coolest thing in the world, so why not indulge?
Words : David Campion