Before 2005's The Runners Four, I couldn't make sense of Deerhoof. Between the band's jazz-inspired instrumentation and Satomi Matsuzaki's all-too-simple lyrics, I was convinced that they were pulling off some clever inside joke.
Then I learned how to actually listen to the band—that is, to take everything in all at once. Every bit of Deerhoof's sound is meant to play into their surrealist aesthetic: Satomi's airy vocals provide the perfect counterbalance to the band's complex songs. Listen to "Panda Panda Panda" off Apple O' and you'll realize that the song just wouldn't be the same without Satomi belting out "Pan-da pan-da pan-da pan-da pan" over and over again.
With Friend Opportunity, Deerhoof continue this formula. In a sense, though, the album is the band's most reserved, casting aside the raw production of some of their previous records. But because of that, Friend Opportunity is also Deerhoof's most refined work. "The Galaxist" is one of the band's best songs, with Satomi's wispy voice hovering beautifully over Greg Saunier's almost drum-and-bass-style beat. Organ-heavy "Matchbook Seeks Maniac" follows suit with a series of dense, chunky hooks—if Deerhoof have ever written anything that could be described as "anthemic" or "soaring," this is it. (Miles Clements)
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