I’m pretty sure that if one were to hold a competition between Xiu Xiu and Deerhoof in order to find who makes the strangest music, the reviews would end up reading like madlibs.
So, you can be certain that after listening to Breakup Song, the new album by Deerhoof, you’ll keep hold of 50% of your sanity to write coherently. Mind you, you’ll still be able to cambiar de lenguaje from time to time, never knowing that you did. It just happens.
“It just happens”. That’s probably how Deerhoof creates their art. Divebombing like kamikaze seagulls, the band is relentless in the half hour this album lasts, nesting in such different genres like noise, funk, ol’ school salsa and electronica.
‘Breakup songs’ delivers a fierce dropkick, with distorted hits, hip hop breaks and that “angelic meets devilish” voice (courtesy of Satomi Matsuzaki) that’s so characteristic of this band. There’s funktastic grooves too, like the stylish ‘There’s that grin’ that could work for a re-imagining of Shaft (actually, don’t mess with a classic). The Latin-infused breaks in this track are just fantastic (they sort of come back in ‘The trouble with candyhands’). The rambling dissonance continues (‘Bad kids to the front’, ‘Zero seconds pause’) and you wonder what they’ll do next.
What they do is: mellow out. ‘Mothball the fleet’ is tremendously accessible and enjoyable, like those quiet moments in a wave pool. ‘Flower’ is slightly noisier, but equally easy going. But, hey, it’s Deerhoof, so you know the penny will drop and cause some waves. ‘To fly or not to fly’ delivers a punchy intro (‘The final countdown’ sprung to mind!) and it’s one of the noisiest moments in Breakup song. Mind you, they will close the album with a more relaxed tone (‘Fête d’Adieu’).
I know a lot of people have trouble getting into Deerhoof, perhaps they want something less angular and more straightforward and that’s totally fine. The music of Deerhoof might seem to be like a bunch of puzzle pieces thrown together, without rhyme nor reason, but if you take a few steps back, you’ll notice that it wasn’t a puzzle, but a Magic Eye poster. Check this one out if you want something experimental and thoroughly entertaining.
Words: Sam J. Valdés López