Deerhoof sign to Polyvinyl, release Evil new record

Deerhoof has been making music for longer than fifteen years. With this long of tenure as a band come obvious changes, from members to style, but there isn’t a whole lot of reasons to delve too far into Deerhoof’s back catalogue. Over the past few releases, however, the band’s sound has been undergoing a very noticeable change. Deerhoof’s music has incorporated more and more pop sensibilities; 2008’s Offend Maggie solidified this change. Deerhoof Vs. Evil, the band’s first release on Champaign’s own Polyvinyl Records, continues the trend while putting it to work making an album suitable for 2011.
A band known for its heavy experimentation, Deerhoof seems, in the past couple of years, to be making albums that will garner a wider audience then art house audiences. With Deerhoof Vs. Evil, the band delivers a handful of songs that serve up the kind of catchy hooks to entertain the masses right alongside the experimental attitude that is their staple sound. Where the album succeeds is with songs such as “Behold a Marvel In the Darkness” and “Super Duper Rescue Heads!” These tracks are examples of where the two aforementioned trends collide in a single track. Each track moves between moments of catchy guitar-pop to sections of heavy guitar experimentation; the band, however, makes these transitions smooth and keeps the mid-song changes from being to jarring to the listener.
The downside to the record is that, for an experimental-rock band, there aren’t a whole lot of new ideas floating around on the album. The album is still in many ways experimental, but it is mostly continuing ideas found on the album’s recent predecessors. Although the album is a success at what it is trying to accomplish, a band known for pushing forward might have been expected to push a little more on this album.
This fact, however, does not completely detract from the quality of the songs that populate Deerhoof Vs. Evil. More than any other Deerhoof release, I feel that there is something here for everyone to like. Although there was a two year gap between this album and the previous, Offend Maggie, one can hope that the band gets back to their standard operating procedures and releases some more material in less time. Maybe then we can get the catchy appealing experimentation combined with a little more push at the envelope.

WPGU Music Staff Rating: W-P-½
Key Tracks: “Behold A Marvel In The Darkness”, “The Merry Barracks” and “Secret Mobilizaiton”.
Recommended if you like: Marnie Stern, Fiery Furnaces & Ponytail.

W = Poor
W-P = Fair
W-P-G = Great
W-P-G-U = An instant classic!

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