Thursday, 11 January 2007

Deerhoof’s last album, The Runners Four, was probably the most pop-obsessed album that the group had recorded in their lifetime. There were moments of their unexpected heavy crunch and stop/start fragments, but it was practically their version of The Monkees in its pure catchiness and humable tunes. Anyone who has seen the group live recently will know that this bubblegum is just part of the equation that adds up to Deerhoof’s full strength. They are also wickedly obtuse, often heavy and convoluted. This comes out in Friend Opportunity, a divergent release that goes from grandiose to ethereal and straight into knuckle-dragging rock dirges. Well, at least on the “The Galaxist.” Back down to a trio, vocalist Satomi Matsuzaki has recently stated that she hoped to expand the possibilities of what a three-piece could do. They are going full-throttle here—from the deranged electro-synth of “Kidz Are So Small” to the grinding riff-rock of “+81.” Along for the ride are the sputtering sounds of dying, broken electronics, piping horns and Greg Saunier’s free-range, no-limits approach to drumming. The group may have reigned in the noise and chaos, but these are replaced with a feverish intensity and joyful uncertainty that makes them so completely fascinating.

Friend Opportunity is out January 23, 2007 on Kill Rock Stars

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