Deerhoof is ‘pure noise’

Roze Brooks

Deerhoof, a San Francisco-based “noise band,” has managed to self-produce a whopping 12 albums with its recent release of “Breakup Song.” Founded in 1994, the group’s sound has constantly morphed to encompass elements of various musical genres, but never matured to develop its own musical identity. Deerhoof’s only distinguishable characteristic is lead singer Satomi Matsuzaki’s subpar vocals. “Breakup Song” reflects a theatre department’s least recommended sound effects track list. Reminders of a childhood Bop-It toy were prominent throughout this album.

Using the bare minimum of words in each song, the inside album cover reads more like a set of haikus than lyrics.  Lead singer Satomi Matsuzaki’s warbled pronunciations make deciphering lyrics difficult until the around the 12th repetition of the same lyrics in each track.  The scarce amount of lyrics that are provided on the album seems more a stream of conscious than tangible, relatable thoughts, such as “Just spark the Jingletron” and “The autojubilator is free of charge.”  The final song of the album, called “Fete D’ Adieu,” which doesn’t seem to translate to anything relevant to the song itself, features the line “Ready to be tough as a robot on the dancefloor.” These alluding references stop short of endearing due to listeners not being a part of the inside joke.

The novelty of this album is trying to guess what could be creating the sounds stemming from each track. Slivers of glockenspiels, creaking playground swings, and hamtaro autotunes were among the list of things that could be attributed to the eccentric sounds. These sounds serve as a bipolar backtrack for the typically indiscernible vocals, lacking any preconceived transitions from one to the other and avoiding cohesion.  This lack of correlation is present in regards to the content of the album, referencing no lost loves  seeming to carry on throughout, no reoccurring emotions, simply a mass amount of odd statements and meaningless banter.

Introductions to songs such as “Flower” held potential to cater to a jazzier feel, but quickly veered off into a techno, wind chime frenzy that was hard to reconcile. The spastic amount of new sounds being implemented  every 10 seconds of each track makes the possibility for live shows somewhat undoable.  And without scrutiny of the album as it streams from the media player of choice, knowing where one track has ended and one has begun is impossible.

The group seems to lack creativity with the lackluster lyrics, headache inducing clanks, thumps, and bangs, and does little to hold listeners attention.

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