Luna Kafé e-zine  Luna Kafé record review
coverpic flag US - California - Full Moon 245 - 08/18/16

The Magic

"We don't set out to create masterpieces. The Deerhoof fan is a thrill-seeker." (Greg Saunier, Deerhoof)

Deerhoof! Deerhoof. Deerhoof never fail. Fact. I guess that Deerhoof is as much thrill-seekers as their fans. After their brilliant last album, 2014's La Isla Bonita; i was convinced that Deerhoof could keep on forever. To infinity. For eternity. And, well, here's The Magic. Holding more Deerhoof magic, mystery rock of the experimental kind.

Can you believe it, Deerhoof has been rocking/rolling for more than 22 years! The Magic is their 13th album! 13 albums of experimental, innovative rock which is a crazy mixture of noisy pop, wild and glittering punk and pure avant-garde music. Period. John Dieterich, Satomi Matsuzaki, Ed Rodriguez and Greg Saunier rock and rule! Ever since brilliant drummer/singer Saunier founded the combo back in 1994 (they were a duo back then), the band has been on an eternal quest for their finest moment ever - either if it's bliss pop or odd noise. Singer and bass player Satomi Matsuzaki joined the band in 1995, while the eminent guitar player John Dieterich came on-board back in 1999/2000 (his first album was their fourth, Reveille, released in 2002). Last current member, second guitarist Ed Rodríguez has been a Deer-head since 2008 (from their 9th album, the smashing Offend Maggie, 2008). The Magic spins for some 40 minutes and the album holds 15 songs. Songs from the woods. Songs from the attic. Songs from the basement. Songs from the garage. Deerhoof's rock is at times very surreal. And, well, thank you for that. Thank you for this (album), thank you for these (songs).

Satomi says 'the magic...', and "The Devil and his Anarchic Surrealist Retinue" kicks off, sounding like, well... something only Deerhoof can sound like: spastic, yet steady rhythms, wild guitar-lines, topped with Satomi's kool vocals. "Kafe Mania!" kicks in, and - WOW - this is so Deerhoof. Again. 'Cappuccino. Macchiato. Affogato. Corretto. Cappuccino. Macchiato. Affogato. Corretto. ...', Satomi sings. Dead cool, almost deadpan. "Life is Suffering" could have been a wild, trippy Beastie Boys track, while "Criminals of the Dream" holds a punk-poppy hook making me think of both vintage Wire and Stranglers - if it was not for Satomi's sweet, dry, optimistic voice. "Model Behavior" is another spastic track, both rhythmically as well as vocally. Well, you'll find many examples of the experimental playfulness of Deerhoof, as you find the punk rock band combo (imagine a garage-rock Ramones) as with tracks like "That Ain't No Life To Me" and "Plastic Thrills". If I were to name some big faves off this album, I'd say "Learning to Apologize Effectively", plus the following track, "Dispossessor". The aforementioned "The Devil and his Anarchic Surrealist Retinue" is cool and playful. In addition, yes, the poppy "Acceptance Speech", the bouncy "Debut", and the dirt-rock piece "Plastic Thrills" - which sounds like Rolling Stones disguised as Sonic Youth. Last but not least comes "Little Hollywood" (the second to last track), which makes (along with the spastic, highly experimental closing track, "Nurse Me") The Magic another brilliant Deerhoof album. Period.

Deerhoof is an ultra-vivid band. I hope they never stop being that. They were brilliant when they visited Oslo's Blå seven years ago, in September 2009. This September they'll return to Blå. I hope they'll be as brilliant as in 2009. I am pretty sure they will be.

PS! John Dietrich launched a collaborative album earlier this year, The Coral Casino, along with A Hawk And A Hacksaw's (and Neutral Milk Hotel's) Jeremy Barnes. Dietrich also collaborated on Claire Cronin's Came Down A Storm (Ba Da Bing! Records) this May. Hopefully, we'll come back to that record. This year, Greg Saunier (and Deerhoof) also did some collaborative work along with the New York-based Brazilian composer Marcos Balter and Chicago-based 22-piece contemporary music group Ensemble Dal Niente, which resulted in an album called Balter / Saunier (on New Amsterdam Records). Better check out that as well.

Copyright © 2016 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Deerhoof articles/reviews: Deerhoof vs. Evil, Friend Opportunity, Halfbird, La Isla Bonita, Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, 10.2.06, Offend Maggie.

© 2016 Luna Kafé