It’s hard to tell if the “Evil” pitted against Deerhoof on its latest record is becoming complacent in the ability to challenge its listeners with songs that are equal parts avant-garde and pop. One thing for sure is that their latest album, Deerhoof vs. Evil, has more in common with the excellence, perhaps more listener friendly Friend Opportunity then its previous, seemingly all over the place release Offend Maggie, however, the challenge is still there for the listener. The extremely poppy track, “Super Duper Rescue Heads!,” for example, begins with a euro-synth hook, then adds a tropical rhythm and simple, sweet lyrics from Satomi Matsuzaki before veering to its psychedelic end. Meanwhile, “No One Asked to Dance” waltzes through the ears with Spanish guitar and Matsuzaki’s voice, adding harpsichords and a simple bass line at the break before finally putting it all together.
Long time Deerhoof fans will still hear all the usual references, whether it be Os Mutantes-type “anything is possible” pastiches of sound and dual vocals, heavy metal, punk or hip hop, but in a more clearer, mature package. What this record, like every record since its debut The Man, The King, The Girl has done is prove that Deerhoof remains one of the most talented, engaging and eclectic bands around – piecing together musical pieces into surrealistic art trips.
Words: Alex Roman