What can be said about Deerhoof that hasn’t already been said about the Rubik’s Cube? Both are challenging, both have sustained audience interest for a long period of time, and both are often looked at with childish wonder. A challenging child-like game…that’s Deerhoof!
It’s hard to imagine a band well into their twentieth year that has kept the public’s interest without immediate dismissal. After all, they’ve released more than ten full lengths as well as a score of EPs, split singles, and who knows what else? (The band even did a flexi book release for the new record). They’re as prolific as they are engaging. The band has no contemporaries. Each release feels like a new band compromised of refurbished parts.
Their latest, La Isla Bonita, uses much of the same formula as their last dozen full lengths. On the surface one is always met with a noise rock crust; this is the starting point for all Deerhoof records. There’s the skronk guitar of John Dieterich and Ed Rodriguez that cuts like a rusty treble knife through the effervescent bubble bass playing of Satomi Matsuzaki. Greg Saunier is a drummer of the highest intensity, often using a small drum kit to establish a groove and an off time lumber at the same time. Satomi’s voice breaks through what could become a pretentious art rock cliché of heavy-handed compositions with humor.
On the fourth song ‘Last Fad’, Satomi sings “Baseball is cancelled / ET is running late” and it kind of makes sense, I think… does it matter? And there’s another question, how does all of this relate to the title of the record, La Isla Bonita, which is ‘borrowed’ from the 1986 Madonna song? This is the joy of Deerhoof, you move the Rubik’s Cube in any direction and you end up getting further away from solving the game but you enjoy the ever changing process.