“DD Review: Deerhoof – The Magic.”

Score: 8.5/10
Jesus, googling and finding an article you read about Led Zeppelin is fu**ing impossible. But the upside is, you find a bunch of new cool articles in attempting to do so. They’ll pop up taking various forms, always utilizing that handsome craft of the Zoso symbols logo, or that old, un-envisaged man in the cape. And they’ll always do justice to what in the past was wrongly denigrated: music of such exceptional, transcended and lasting power and gravity.
Now, Deerhoof, you might say, do not have this particular problem. If someone writes a lengthy, effusive blurb about them, you’re gonna know, provided you do any level of searching whatsoever. And like Califone, time after time, album after album, they keep reformatting our composite concepts of rock music, they further things along on the punk rock timeline with a rare combination of patience — that is to say, firm understanding of time, and raw power.
Stylistically, through the first three tracks, The Magic is akin most among the Deerhoof catalogue to Apple O’, 2003’s deific simplification of noise. If the band were methodologically influenced by The Strokes on this past effort — keeping it incredibly simple, brief, concise and undeniable (the entire album clocks in at just over half an hour) — [1] on The Magic they just sound like they’ve been listening to a bunch of other people’s sh**. That, and Iceage and Plague Vendor, probably. But they’ve still got this sense of urgency, and nothing is modal, nothing is prepackaged.
And I was somewhat surprised, in this day and age, to find that the album was even “packaged” at all: that is, you can still get it on CD, unlike DJ Dodger Stadium’s precocious 2014 debut album Friend of Mine. [2] Are there still Deerhoof fans out there? Sh**, coulda fooled me. Their release has flown as far below the radar as the last one by Deer-HUNTER, or even more. But where the relatively bombastic arena-noise, albeit effective, of Friend Opportunity, gave way to the overproduced claustrophobia, somewhat like the excessive attempt to create an artistic realm, of Offend Maggie, The Magic fumes and struts along more caustically, and within an increased carefree swagger.
Now, the discussion materializes, as to whether anything here could be qualitatively dubbed as “new,” and certainly, this discussion is a worthy one, but to me the quicksand anticlimax of Offend Maggie only proves by inverse that sometimes a band is best just cottoning on to something they love, like punk rock, even if it something from the past. Pitted against budding flavors of the week like Modern Baseball, it is Deerhoof with still the more original style — that predatory yelp of lead bit** Satomi Matsuzaki, like somehow a sociologically maligned Karen O who’s been classically trained to systematically clash with our expectations. Cheeky song titles like “This Ain’t No Life to Me” and “Life is Suffering” are belied ultimately — these are realizations of the band’s met with the ensuing result that they just don’t care, they’re going to rock out, and in a way they never have exactly before, either. “Life is Suffering” makes a cosmic conversation with a warped sense of phrasing, and an eclectic instrumentation replete with some processed percussion which dances in lockstep with the sonically deviant guitar-ing. By the end, the song has morphed into party-rock frenzy, after what had been a habitually deliberate pace sustaining its majority.
By the time of “Learning to Apologize Effectively,” it’s more systematic goofing of a similarly unexpected meter and stomp, calling to mind in fact early spoon a la “Fitted Shirt,” but the drums are still those same ones brilliantly enlivened but controlled, like an edifying beast on a leash. Songs like this help bulwark the album as a conceptual maze, but one never reliant on stylistic obtuseness — it’s a complex casserole baked entirely with conventional ingredients, and just, it seems, almost more inspiration than ever.
[1] Albeit a half hour brimming with some of the most jarring noise burps you’ve ever heard in your life.
[2] http://dolbydisaster.com/?p=18657

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