Deerhoof vs Evil,
Deerhoof have lingered in the left field of pop idiosyncrasy for more than a decade, loved by critics and existing as a name that is ever-present in the music blogosphere. While their influence is cited by many of the most innovative artists in the alternative world, they have yet to pierce the skin of the mainstream in the way bands such as Grizzly Bear have in the past couple of years. With Deerhoof vs. Evil, their critical adoration will continue, although whether they can gain the level of visibility that has so far eluded them remains to be seen.
It certainly would be a shame if it did, as this is an album that is not only original and full of crazed invention, but is also catchy as hell and seriously fun. The spontaneity that characterises Deerhoof is as clear as ever on the album, yet there is nevertheless a pop sensibility to be savoured if you just embrace the madness.
And it isn’t hard to embrace. As impressive and energetic as Deerhoof are, they’re not desperate for your attention. This is a record that is as warm and as comfortable as it is perplexing and dazzling. The soft tones of vocalist Sitomi Matsuzaki are charming, innocent without being twee and gentle without being fey. Her voice is the logic that runs throughout the album, particularly effective on the gorgeous ‘No One Asked To Dance’ (complete with delicate guitar picking and synth drone loveliness), and the beguiling and seductive ‘Must Fight Current’.
Deerhoof vs. Evil is an album that manages to combine invention and entertainment. It is an album that will no doubt keep the critics happy and yet it may still be an album that will be heard by fewer people than it has the potential to delight.