ALBUM REVIEW: Deerhoof – La Isla Bonita | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Upset the Rhythm
Released: 3.11.14


Deerhoof‘s biggest appeal perhaps lies in their ability to take off-the-wall ideas and turn them into something utterly infectious. Random song structures which make you question if there’s a structure at all, surreal lyrics, and an ability to throw in everything and the kitchen sink are their staples. If Lena Dunham ever wants a new theme tune to her hit show, then she could do a whole lot worse than the anthemic 70’s dance-floor vibes of album opener, Paradise Girls. A surprisingly negative vibe runs through the record, with the post-apocalyptic lullaby of Mirror Monster and titles like Doom and closer Oh Bummer. But the quirky instrumentation and Satomi’s pop mix vocals stop it ever becoming too heavy. At times it threatens to get a bit too bizarre and unfathomable, such as on the near unlistenable Tiny Bubbles, and indeed, the second half of the record goes downhill as it loses the focus that’s more apparent on the first half. If Deerhoof can ever be accused of being ‘focussed’, that is. Fortunately the next twist and hook is never too far around the corner of the surreal highway. Rarely are the lyrics more throw away than on Last Fad: “Baseball is cancelled, ET is running late,” ponders Satomi. Naturally, it’s the album’s first release.

Curiously this is perhaps Deerhoof’s most accessible record yet. Exit Only is three-chord punk, the band’s self-confessed stab at being the Ramones. They’re never gonna sell a million records – in spite of the names that cite them as an influence – but that’s not the point. “We neither had it all nor shall we,” sings Satomi on Black Pitch. They certainly have ‘it’ – it might occasionally be hidden away, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t just as sweet when you find it.

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