Jittery art rockers Deerhoof normally make their splintered music in isolation but here on their new album they have opened the door to the outside world and collaborated with the likes of Matana Roberts,Lætitia Sadier and Juana Molina. They also have a go at a Bob Marley song. Human contact = good.
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Lovely Deerhoof. Who could possibly be mad? Weird and kindly, their artfully dismantled rock music continues to expand at rapid and prolific speeds, with new album ‘Mountain Moves’ following on just a year from ‘The Magic’. Here Deerhoof become a loving trope of players as they invite a roster of friends and tribute a legend or two. Billed as a celebration of the “life-affirming underground”, the record comes wrapped up like a band celebrating their fans’ love of music, watching excitedly as we tear apart the paper and listen to the noise inside.
A bit rockin’ but largely quite a lovely record, the collaborations offer a wormhole of ever-so-slightly different universes for the band to step into. “I Will Spite Survive” sees Jenn Wasner offer a slight melodic clarification to a song of tinkering synth noise, the song sounding off hard way between a weird Deerhoof song and an indie pop tune fit for a Miles Teller romcom. “Come Down Here & Say That” sees Stereolab’s Laetitia Sadier” just hang with the band and make an utterly grooving jam -- like the best Deerhoof songs, it introduces a delicious riff and then immediately dumps the song into a different cosmos entirely, each moving part differently exciting and confounding. Saxophonist and sound artist Matana Roberts makes a surprise appearance on “Mountain Moves” with an alto exercise that almost wrestles the song around it, joining the rhythmic stutter in a euphoric meander.
These collaborations feel honest to Deerhoof’s plan to make a record that as much tributes other music as it does continue their own project. Each of these tracks feels like a spotlight for its feature, mashed up with the edges of Deerhoof’s head-scratching aesthetic. They go one better with covers of Violeta Parra (a haunting classical rework that matches with nothing around it), the Staple Singers and Bob Marley, as if suggesting their musical lineage is built on passionate whims. It’s not quite their funnest record, but it’s the one that warms my heart the most.
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