Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Year. 6. Do re mi fa so's star will scream.

6. Deerhoof - Offend Maggie

Kill Rock Stars

It's hard to say anything about Deerhoof that hasn't been said before. These guys are hardened vets of the highest rank. Satomi Matsuzaki and Greg Saunier plus others have been making genuinely fantastic albums with a barely plausible regularity, given their complexity, for a decade and change. Their music is a dichotomy. It's pop in its purest, most child-like sense, the sort of thing you could put on at 10 o'clock in the morning over Play-Do figures dancing in a meadow and have some sort of success with those aged 2-5. But it's also experimental, almost avant garde. And these two senses don't trade places. They exist simultaneously, in a captivating sort of musical messianic duality.


To be honest, I'm not really qualified to talk about Deerhoof on their own terms. Most people aren't, I would think. To talk about Offend Maggie in purely indie rock terms is probably as off-base as that Beatles review where he talks about their augmented shifts. But I don't know anything about Ornette Coleman. So I have to say that, when you jam an absolutely manic musical genius drummer/songwriter into a band with a Japanese woman who was essentially hired because she was quiet but who turned out pretty well, you get weird things. Like the Large Hadron Collider. And about as inexplicable to the man on the street.


So, some specifics about Offend Maggie then. It's probably the most focused album they've ever made. The guitars sound more in charge than ever, and the rhythm makes a serious point of upsetting that authority. Many of the songs are perfect. Offend Maggie the song is fussy but articulated, folky but assured. Basket Ball Get Your Groove Back is the best knowingly insane song Deerhoof have ever knowingly included. Snoopy Waves skips around with some fantastic riffs that I can only describe as groovy. On This Is God Speaking, God has nothing interesting to say, or if he does, it pales in comparison to the instrumental genius on every song surrounding it. Man has come too far.

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