Deerhoof went from the first ideas of The Magic to the finished album in just 7 days, and that sense of frenzied immediacy is tangible in the fresh flavours of the music. As ever, the band deftly navigate a busy landscape of musical styles, often managing to follow experimental avenues and rock out at the same time. Fun times, on Upset The Rhythm.
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Fast-moving and full-feeling, it’s no surprise that Deerhoof turned over ‘The Magic’ just seven days after getting it started. The band’s discography expands like a moth hurrying its way from the cocoon, with recent records going fast and hard for a multitude of reasons: ‘La Isla Bonita’ was the band churning ‘em out like the Ramones would, free in homogeneity, while ‘Deerhoof vs. Evil’ served as an avant-rock anthology of sorts, picking and choosing differently styled melodies to jam out with. Likewise on the Whatever I Feel Like front,‘The Magic’ might sound like any Deerhoof record you’ve heard -- goofy at points, garage-slick at others -- but its makeshift speed should keep you caring.
Now that I think about it, I feel like I should point out that Deerhoof are not Death Grips: they make albums quick and do ‘em however they want, but they also fill them with a bounty of good times. “That Ain’t No Life To Me!” is a slice of Parquet Courts inspired indie rock that spits on the everyday with ever-so-slightly askew lyrics like “I’ve seen how the other half die!” coming over a good shred. At other points, the band revert to their intentionally clunky riff-tracing, with speed-bumped figures like the ones on “Kafe Mania!” and “Life Is Suffering” showing off bubblegum pop the way only Deerhoof could do it: like they’re carving it with a knife.
This record seems to swing chirpily between the blockier and more structurally inventive tunes of Satomi Matsuzaki and those led by John Dietrich, which are filled with straightforward riffs, tight rhythms and a cartoonish cool guy poise that’d fit right into one of Scott Pilgrim’s battle of the bands. At the end of the day, though, it’s Deerhoof, and you really can’t reduce their records to a binary: abstract ambient ballads like “I Don’t Want To Set The World On Fire” exist, as to the mindless pluckings of “Patrasche Come Back”. You know what to expect, but also don't, and this is one of their most charming records in recent memory.
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- The Magic by Deerhoof
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