Deerhoof's tenth full-length album, Deerhoof vs. Evil (released January 25), has achieved the perfect balancing act between obscure off-kilter volatility and infectiously catchy, melodically beautiful exuberance. To top it off, it was all recorded in the band members' basements sans engineers. No need to worry though, Deerhoof hasn't lost their archetypal style of whatever genre you'd consider them to be. There's still that satisfying psychedelic, prog-rock similarity, but this time there are a few new experiments added in... and it works incredibly well.
It's almost as if they've deconstructed the work they've done in the past, put it all in a big bag, added some fresh new ingredients, vigorously shook it up, and out came Deerhoof vs. Evil.
The menu that this album offers is the most diverse yet, in my opinion. Some songs scream hormonal sentimentality; others project a delicate, trance-like minimalism. There is definitely a nuanced emphasis on synths this time around, but thankfully, Deerhoof has used this instrument tastefully without drowning out the album. I'm pretty sure I also heard a thumb piano. Superb. And Ms. Matsuzaki's voice? Always and forever effortlessly entrancing.
Throughout this whole album there's a catchy beat of sorts, whether it mimics an African polyrhythm, an R&B/pop groove (yeah, that's right), or just an intricate hard-to-follow-but-easy-to-love percussion that Saunier is so impeccable at.
Deerhoof has got this new direction down pat. It's galactic, sporadic, lethargic, tempestuous and fervent, all while holding tight to their roots. Deerhoof continues to viciously plow through every genre they get their hands on and tear it a new asshole, and I'm loving every minute of it.