On Second Thought: Deerhoof – Deerhoof vs. Evil (2011)

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If ADD is the new normal, then Deerhoof are right at home — as the wacky next door neighbors in a sitcom. On a wave of squalling guitar, gamelan percussion and sweetly sung but odd phrases that are repeated until they sound just right, the four piece were predictably unpredictable on Deerhoof vs. Evil.

Here, a sneaking ’70s vibe joins the band’s magpie pickings. “Ooh, a bright shiny Rhodes!” (“C’moon”) “Ah, a bit of ‘Bang a Gong’ glam stomp!” (“The Merry Barracks”) But nothing sticks around long before we’re on to something else.

On “Must Fight Current” two separate songs duke it out with no clear winner, while on “Super Duper Rescue Heads!,” bright keyboards slide effortlessly into a maelstrom on No Wave squall worthy of Robert Quine. It’s telling that the disc’s most straightforward tune is “Let’s Dance the Jet,” a cover of a soundtrack cue from the 1967 cult film “The Day the Fish Came Out.”

If Lark’s Tongue-era Crimson had ditched John Wetton’s warble for bassist/vocalist Satomi Matsuzaki’s sugary croon, then submitted the master tapes to a dada inspired cut and paste, it might sound something like this. But Deerhoof’s geeky experiment streak isn’t so much about questioning the nature of sound as it is about mixing shit up and having some fun. In this regard, they recall goofy avante-posters like Slapp Happy and Family Fodder.

With its rich variety of sound and jarring juxtapositions, Deerhoof vs. Evil crams most musical adventure into its 36 minutes than many bands do in their entire back catalogs.

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Patrick Moran

Patrick Moran

Chicago native Pat Moran is a filmmaker who has produced and written five feature films, and served as producer and editor for Western Classics, a film series hosted by actor James Best. He also writes about music for Creative Loafing Charlotte. The best job title he ever had was "part-time vampire." Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Patrick Moran
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