Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Deerhoof - Breakup Song added to 2012 Recommended Albums

I understand that giving the new Deerhoof album, Breakup Song, the "recommended" tag is very much a personal decision. Not many people would be so praiseworthy of it, which isn't to say it's not very likeable, rather it can be tough what to make of it. Although in this sense it would appear to be a challenging album, it's actually a very immediate and straightforward slice of art-pop lasting nigh-on exactly 30 minutes. The 11 songs on here are over in a flash, but it's not like they need to get started, as they burst into your eardrums right from pressing play. First track "Breakup Songs" sets this example, with shards of electric guitar and drums resembling harsh electronic noises. This is the chorus; the sweet-as-ever vocal of Satomi Matsuzaki tells you of this. Each track makes an average of two or three radical changes on average, in as many minutes. And these changes rarely miss the mark either.

The joy of Breakup Song is not knowing in what way it's going to go next. After you've realised the formula the album takes, and it's done over such a short length of time that it remains effective, it's simply a matter of following it's windy trajectory wherever it jitters. "Zero Seconds Pause" opens like a huge, flourescent rave, but then decides to roll over Greg Saunier's tumbling drum patterns. "The Trouble With Candyhands" fades in with Latin horns, which seemed wonderfully inspired as a lead single, but is just another happy left turn by the time it shows up on Breakup Song eight tracks in. "Flower" bounces off a fat bass synth riff, which contrasts hugely with the following song "To Fly Or Not To Fly", that instead has an oriental-inspired rally from some imagined neon Kurosawa battle scene. And I've just described less than half of the tracks.

The message of Deerhoof has always been fun, but Breakup Song increases it's potency to unrelenting levels by speeding their music up and turning up the volume. And it's been created by musicians that have proven to be not only capable but innovative. There's not a moment where Saunier's drums won't souund impressively complex, or a synth part won't be gleefully smothered in distortion. And despite the amount of change the album experiences Deerhoof always moves tightly with it. It's only been eighteen months since Deerhoof Vs. Evil but Breakup Song is meticulously crafted and feels endlessly rehearsed for it to sound so effortless. And it's title doesn't lie either, it feels like one long song with hundreds of minute changes composing several huge ones, moving together, but never inthe same direction twice. What a song it is.

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