Deerhoof - Breakup Song

The skewed appeal of Deerhoof has never sounded more alluring.

Label: ATP

Rating: 8

If albums were judged on song titles alone, ‘Breakup Song’ is an instant classic. ‘Mario’s Flaming Whiskers III’ and ‘Mothball The Fleet’ bring to mind fractal, fractured, fluorescent pop, full of idiosyncrasies and iridescent intricacies. Luckily for the San Francisco-via-Tokyo four-piece, this happens to be the case. In fact, ‘Breakup Song’ is the definitive Deerhoof album thus far, a joyful celebration of demented noise-pop.

The band’s eleventh album in fifteen years comes after an eighteen month gap since they successfully defeated the netherworld on 2011’s ‘Deerhoof vs Evil’. Described by drummer / producer Greg Saunier as ‘Cuban-flavoured party noise-energy music’, ‘Breakup Song’ manages to hone and control their more outré-moments into a more cohesive structure than before without every compromising the band’s predilection for sheer bonkers-ness. The near-title track ‘Breakup Songs’ skitters and judders with shifting time signatures, warped brass sections and skull-shattering drums, drenched in distortion and Satomi Matsuzaki’s multi-tracked vocals. ‘Bad Kids To The Front’ intricately layers cascading melodies and off-kilter sounds into a rippling pool of giddy synth joy.

For a band often described as simply ‘noise’, Deerhoof have admirably been able to carry off their avant-garde excursions with a sense of glee and mischief absent from their more po-faced contemporaries. As the title suggests, ‘There’s That Grin’ struts and shimmers with a wide-eyed confidence while the bugged-out ending of ‘To Fly Or Not To Fly’ is the most extreme the band get, with peaking guitars and drums but it never sounds threatening or obscure. Everything is coated in a charming insistence on innovation and cheerfulness. The skewed appeal of Deerhoof has never sounded more alluring.