A new Deerhoof album is always an exciting prospect.
Creating a soundscape from myriad genres, this band also deals in the very serious business of musical witticisms. It’s music that frequently makes you smile through its ingenuity. Deerhoof’s music always deserves a close listening, using layers of sound and changes in pace and style.
Sometimes the band’s music seems highly ambitious in its musical scope and conception. This was the case with last year’s Future Teenage Cave Artists and was certainly true of the hugely enjoyable covers album also brought out in 2020, Love-Lore.
At other times the band just seem altogether less intense and like they’re having a lot of fun. That’s the story with the new album Actually You Can.
There are three stand-out tracks for me. Be Unbarred O Ye Gate of Hell opens the album with big entertaining anthemic guitar riffs.
The single Scarcity is Manufactured features joyful Mexican rhythms, while Plant Thief mixes cascading guitars with drum and bass stylings.
The gentle and tender We Grew and We Are Astonished is also worth a mention. Its base line is strongly reminiscent of the brilliant band Khruangbin.
This was an album that was created in lockdown.
According to singer Satomi Matsuzaki, they had to pair back some of the arrangements so that they could make an album that would be playable live.
That inability to play together must be a source of huge frustration—this album’s a real achievement.
With anti-capitalist sentiments never far from the surface there’s a lot to love. I’m sure there must be something not to like about this band but I’ve yet to find it. Long live Deerhoof.