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Deerhoof - Offend Maggie

Released on Kill Rock Stars, 10/7/08

Deerhoof has been cranking out albums for the past fourteen years which, in and of itself, is quite a feat for any band, not to mention one that always seemed to be slightly outside of the norm, if not above it. Deerhoof has risen from what could have easily turned into the next noise-rock party band to one of the most innovative art rock bands of this time.

Offend Maggie opens with “The Tears and Music of Love” which, though not entirely dissimilar to Kenny Loggins’ “Footloose” in chord progression, quickly transitions into classic Deerhoof when Satomi begins cooing over the jagged guitar and spastic drumming in Japanese, her voice at once childlike and commanding. “Chandelier Searchlight” melds sixties British pop with a more advanced compositional element producing a progressive edge that continues to run through the majority of the album.

Offend Maggie envelops the listener in the classic Deerhoof sound. Greg Saunier’s drumming style is both unbridled and perfectly on point, guitarists John Dieterich and Ed Rodriguez, whose unconventional riffs provide the perfect counterbalance to each other, create parts that wander like lost children and then smash back together like a car crash, while singer Satomi Matsuzaki stands out as more of a combining force -- a calm within the chaotic and almost anguished notes and rhythms.

Both the title track “Offend Maggie” and “Don’t Get Born” seem to again reference the early sixties in Britain, though this time embracing more folk and traditional standards that bands such as Fairport Convention were popularized for. They explore this further in “Family of Others”, an acoustic, experimental folk song showcasing the male singers in the band and gleefully leaping from rhythm to rhythm, part to part.

As a whole, the fourteen-track album is a masterpiece of sound. Deerhoof possesses the rare ability to musically combine anguish and terror, discussing the polarity of feeling and the desperateness of an inconsequential reality all while creating an overall feeling of triumph and sense of accomplishment. They combine sixties pop, seventies prog, eighties stadium rock, nineties noise and their own brand of musical scoring and classical composition. Their music supersedes the standard boundaries of opus and formula. Fourteen years and still tearin’ it up. Bravo.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars