Deerhoof - La Isla Bonita [LP] (Gray Vinyl, download)
For years, Deerhoof was the only band that sounded like Deerhoof. Deerhoof's
neck-snapping syncopations, classical melody, minimal gear and maximal music has
slowly become part of the vocabulary: St. Vincent, Flaming Lips, Tune-Yards and Dirty
Projectors are just a few of the bands to have absorbed some Deerhoof DNA.
Deerhoof banged out recordings to send to producer and Godmode Records
honcho Nick Sylvester. No one gave much thought to microphone placement and
other technical matters, or playing the parts perfectly, or even staying in tune. It was
unselfconscious, spontaneous and fun, all four musicians playing in the same tiny
room at the same time. ''We forgot,'' says Greg, ''that the camera was there.'' The
music was ineffably evocative and powerful.
In May, Sylvester recorded the vocals, and that's where the album's pop side comes
out: Satomi's singing is front and center, and if it sounds like she's commanding the
band, it's because she was. Satomi was determined to make a record that was not
just for hardcore Deerhoof fans but instead would speak to everybody.
But there's a darkness to the songs. While Satomi's voice might ring like a sweet bell,
John and Ed's guitars resound with uncanny, virtuosic abandon, and Greg drums
with his ingenious wallop, the gnomic lyrics juxtapose images of false paradise with a
sense of declining empires and decay, a foreboding portrait of an American Weimar.
La Isla Bonita is the glorious sound of four musicians owning their own hard-won and
richly deserved legacy. Even as western civilization goes down the tubes.
1. Paradise Girls
2. Mirror Monster
4. Last Fad
5. Tiny Bubbles
6. Exit Only
7. Big House Waltz
8. God 2
9. Black Pitch
10. Oh Bummer
2014 Polyvinyl Records