November 8, 2010

Deerhoof – The Runners Four
noise-rock, experimental-rock

All three members Deerhoof - The Runners Fourof Deerhoof play a truly vital role in this album’s success – Satomi Matsuzaki’s feather-light vocals are always full of glorious attitude and humour, while her bass gives many of the group’s songs their strong, underlying foundation; John Dieterich’s complex, rapid-fire guitar always make for tunes that are full of fascinatingly idiosyncratic melodies and interludes; and Greg Saunier’s totally unconventional, stripped-back drumming (the man has a kit containing nothing but a kick, a snare and a crash) sees him not merely setting a standard beat, but somehow drumming around that beat to create an exciting style that’s seemingly improvisational and yet so sturdy and reliable (there’s a reason why he’s my favourite drummer in rock music today). This album is, to me, their lofty artistic peak, a noise-rock masterpiece played by a group collectively sporting a mischievous, “we know we’re really a pop band” grin, and it’s crammed with a hugely generous twenty songs. Many of these – I’ll single out “Twin Killers”, “Vivid Cheek Love Song”, “Wrong Time Capsule”, “Spirit Ditties of No Tone”, “Scream Team”, “Siriustar” and “Rrrrrrright” – rank on the highest echelon of their body of work. It’s truly awe-inspiring to listen to a group with this powerful a grasp on pop songwriting combined with such an overwhelming desire to be willfully unusual and keep on pushing the envelope over and over, and that’s exactly what’s presented on The Runners Four. Within the standard confines of guitar/bass/drums/vocals, it stands as the ultimate showcase of creativity.