Deerhoof

Fri Feb 27

Meow Meow

320 SE 2nd

If all of Deerhoof's music was as softly structured as singer Satomi Matsuzaki's wafer-thin falsetto, the band would lull even the most twee members of the cardigan set into a standing stupor, glazed with the confections of her candied tones. But the chirps and purrs of the haunting Japanese vocalist are simply the siren song to lure the Belle and Sebastian/Stereolab set into choppier waters--the closer you get to her mysterious lyrics, the more the band starts to anxiously splash and thrash around you. Guitars and bass come at you from both sides and then shake your junk on "Milking" and "That Big Orange Sun Run Over Speed Light," two new songs off the band's excellent sixth release, Milk Man. The presence of various other instruments waxes and wanes, dreamlike, across the disc; heavy organ notes hover and then spirit away, saxophones and xylophones appear and break like clouds, guitar chords squeak like they're made of rubber, and marching bands of drums and woodwinds dance with piano keys. Through it all, drummer Greg Saunier is dynamic in setting and breaking the band's fluid pace.

The San Francisco group's spirit of prog-like experimentation is purely playful, like they're only partially pulling apart pop structures and gluing the segments back in unusual places. The members of Deerhoof are those rare creative types who manage to sound smart and arty without forgetting that a little fun goes a long way, making Milk Man a pleasure without corralling the band within strict pop structures.