Deerhoof - The Magic album review

Valiant return of San Francisco veterans Deerhoof

Deerhoof - The Magic album art

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Beholden only to themselves, Deerhoof are many things to many people. For some, they’re the embodiment of music’s carefree impulse, as likely to record a new album during a sleepover in the basement (as was the case with 2014’s La Isla Bonita) as they are to hop up on stage with The Flaming Lips and play a bunch of King Crimson covers (as they did in 2012).

To others, they’re expert soundscapists, creating remixes for the likes of Sufjan Stevens, Asobi Seksu, Xiu Xiu and Wildbirds & Peacedrums. The Magic is the product of another whim, the quartet holing up in an abandoned office space in the New Mexico desert to fashion a vast, deliciously catholic summation of everything they hold dear. Which turns out to be a lot.

In fact, it’s probably easier to list the places this album doesn’t go to, rather than try to make sense of how they combine punk, prog, avant folk, tropicalia, electronica and brutalist noise rock to such stunning effect. The whole thing is given a further twist of strangeness by the disarming tones of Japanese singer/bassist Satomi Matsuzaki. The Magic is likely to leave you breathless, slightly dazed and more than a little rejuvenated.

Deerhoof, Live In Berlin

Rob Hughes

Freelance writer for Classic Rock since 2008, and sister title Prog since its inception in 2009. Regular contributor to Uncut magazine for over 20 years. Other clients include Word magazine, Record Collector, The Guardian, Sunday Times, The Telegraph and When Saturday Comes. Alongside Marc Riley, co-presenter of long-running A-Z Of David Bowie podcast. Also appears twice a week on Riley’s BBC6 radio show, rifling through old copies of the NME and Melody Maker in the Parallel Universe slot. Designed Aston Villa’s kit during a previous life as a sportswear designer. Geezer Butler told him he loved the all-black away strip.