Deerhoof never really stick to one sound for too long, and given that they have an apparently inexhaustible amount of musical ideas, the upside to that is that if you don’t like their latest record, the next one is never far away. ‘Mountain Moves’ is their first of 2017, after ‘Balter / Saunier’ and ‘The Magic’ were both released last year, and appears to have a slightly more obvious political bent than we’ve seen from the San Francisco outfit in quite a while - as encapsulated by ‘Come Down Here and Say That’, which co-opts an angry exchange between Bob Dylan and those fans who felt he’d sold out and, through a playful vocal turn from Lætita Sadier, imbues it with political meaning, as a rebuke from the young and the poor to the baby boomers who dismiss their left-wing ideals.
Such is the ever-changing shape of the Deerhoof blueprint, they’re often at their best when they’re collaborating widely, and ‘Mountain Moves’ features a raft of guest turns - the highlight is the irresistible ‘I Will Spite Survive’, which sets de facto frontwoman Satomi Matsuzaki against Jenn Wasner of Wye Oak in a sort of back-and-forth duet that takes place over a backdrop of punky guitars and melodic synths. It shouldn’t work, but it absolutely does. That kind of instrumental clash is perhaps the one constant to the Deerhoof sound, and when they stray from it is when ‘Mountain Moves’ falters - ‘Sea Moves’ aims to be stormy but just sounds weirdly subdued, whilst ‘Singalong Junk’ kills the pace at the album’s midpoint. As usual, there’s probably a few too many ideas here and the band trip up on them occasionally - but if they didn’t, it wouldn’t be much of a Deerhoof record.