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Deerhoof Friend Opportunity Review

by Jordan Rodgers

The new Deerhoof album is one of the more interesting records of the first months of 2007. Following on the heels of 2005's The Runners Four, Friend Opportunity continues Deerhoof's hot streak. It is precisely the sort of record one would expect from them at this point, which might be good or bad news, depending on how you feel about the band.

The main difference of this new album from their previous one is the grouping of songs whereas The Runners Four had been a sprawling mess, the new album is tightly constructed. The album runs quickly through nine three-minute-sweet-as-a-cherry-pop-tart songs, before they let loose a bit on the final track, "Look Away." The first nine songs are all good in their own way, if not quite up to the standard of past stand-outs such as "Apple Bomb" and "Twin Killers." In general, they are at their best when Deerhoof decides to go off the deep end into weirdness this is especially true of "Believe E.S.P," for my money the masterpiece of the album, with its chugging rhythm and nonsensical lyrics. Other standouts are the beautifully shifting guitar workout of "The Galaxist" (isn't that a great title?) and the electronic funk of "Choco Fight." The major flaw of the first nine songs is that most of the great ones are near the beginning. But it's worth slogging through for the final track, "Look Away," which is the only one that Deerhoof allows themselves a little contemplative space. The results are gorgeous, if sometimes a bit meandering though it's 11 minutes long, it rewards a full listen, with its many sections ranging from pretty guitar solos to noise improvisations. With the current direction Deerhoof's music is taking, of course, this sort of freakout seems out of place, and perhaps its title has a quite specific meaning.

In general, though, Deerhoof's new record, Friend Opportunity, is well worth a listen, and is just as good in its own way as their other most recent ones. I personally would have liked a record full of more experimental works such as "Look Away," but Deerhoof has always known how to write oddly great pop songs, and they haven't forgotten that here.

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Deerhoof Friend Opportunity

Label:Kill Rock Stars

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