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CD: Deerhoof - Mountain Moves | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Deerhoof - Mountain Moves

CD: Deerhoof - Mountain Moves

Multifaceted art punks get slicker still but continue to sparkle

'Musical theatre camp, punk discipline, protest zeal or pop joy - it all feels completely of a part'

With the wind behind them, the San Francisco-founded band Deerhoof are one of the greatest live experiences you can have. Two decades since their first album, they still have a relentlessly experimental hunger for sonic surprise, mixing extraordinary virtuosity with an indie/punk directness, love of infectious melody and natural surrealism, which all together makes every moment of their shows full of ideas but also thrilling on an immediate sonic level.

It's tough to bottle something so predicated on spontaneity, and given years of studio experience the Deerhoof sound has naturally been smoothed out somewhat in recordings. But even given all that, they are still making wonderful records. And in fact, they are turning that sonic smoothing-out to their advantage. While the twists and turns of this record may not be as startling as the live shows, they're still there – but the pop gloss and fizz of the production means they're insidious: you'll find yourself going with it because it's simply enjoyable, and two minutes later realising you've ended up in uncharted territory without realising.

Singer-bassist Satomi Matsuzaki shares vocal duties with guests like Argentinian folktronicist Juana Molina and Stereolab alumnus Laetitia Sadier – who also exist on the cusp of indie-mainstream and avant-garde, and also share that quality of voice that you might call faux-naif if it wasn't for their total commitment. Composer and artist Matana Roberts adds some witty sax to “Mountain Moves”, locking in with the band's spiky funk with inhuman precision. Yet whether the mode is musical theatre camp, punk discipline, protest zeal or pop joy, it all feels completely of a part. The skill that Deerhoof have accumulated over the years clearly isn't just in delivering loud onstage impact: they know how to make clever, lovely, involving records too.


The pop gloss and fizz of the production means the twists and turns are insidious


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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