Published Jun 22, 2016Otherworldly and full of enchantment, Deerhoof's 13th studio album, The Magic, finds the wholly original and ever-engaging band at their most cohesive and versatile — which is saying a lot, given their dynamic history.
The band entrance from track one, "The Devil and his Anarchic Surrealist Retinue," as driving guitar and drums rumble along into a spirited and highly melodic chorus that emphasizes Satomi Matsuzaki's airy vocals. The bridge takes things down a notch, as calmer rhythmic interplay provides a pause before launching back into the raucous chorus.
Deerhoof explore a '60s rock sound in the chorus of "Life is Suffering," whose disjointed yet funky music is oddly uplifting. Hazy synths create plenty of atmosphere on "I Don't Want to Set the World on Fire," and provide the backdrop to Matsuzaki's refrain on "Criminals of the Dream": "Things aren't as bad as they seem / Dream, you can dream, you can dream, you can dream / I know you can dream."
The serenity is juxtaposed with frantic rhythms on the twists and turns of "Model Behaviour," its experimental and wonky nature characteristic of the band's sound, while "Dispossessor" and "Plastic Thrills" are straight up rock songs: dramatic, relentless and fun.
What Deerhoof manage to fit into two minutes of music is incredible: they employ chord and tempo changes galore to keep listeners on their toes. On The Magic, Deerhoof bring it just as much as they do in their live shows, which, over a dozen albums into the band's career — and given their live prowess — is a spectacular feat. (Polyvinyl)