THE GRADE B+
BOTTOM LINE Finding the joy in creating something new.
There are moments on “The Magic” (Polyvinyl) when Deerhoof sounds simply giddy.
“Cappuccino! Macchiato! Affogato! Cortado!” bassist Satomi Matsuzaki enthusiastically sings in “Kafe Mania!” over burbling synthesizers and roaring guitars. She’s seriously giving props to coffee drinks — well, as seriously as you can do such a thing.
It sums up the anything-goes vibe of Deerhoof’s 14th album, seemingly a response to the more refined songs of the San Francisco quartet’s recent albums. And they cultivated that feeling, recording “The Magic” in seven days in a studio set up in abandoned office space in the middle of the New Mexico desert.
Sometimes that creates indescribable bits of sound collage like the crazy funk of “Model Behavior,” where various bass lines compete with Matsuzaki singing scales. Sometimes it results in the straightforward-for-Deerhoof rock of “Plastic Thrills,” with its fuzzed-out guitar riffs and glam-rock trappings. And, of course, there’s also the oddly faithful, spacey trip-hop version of the Ink Spots’ 1941 hit “I Don’t Want to Set the World on Fire,” which actually ends in laughter.
Deerhoof’s idea of making music just for fun works well for them and that lighthearted feeling is contagious on “The Magic.”