Deerhoof have always been a difficult band to classify. Usually, they’re labeled something along the lines of indie-experimental-noise-rock. With their latest release, Breakup Song, they just got a little harder to peg. The album opens with the title track, a barrage of electronic noise and drum machines with little girl vocals. For a moment I thought I got a Sleigh Bells album by mistake. Things kept on getting weirder though and I knew I had the right album.
Even for a famously experimental band, Breakup Song is surprising. There is a conspicuous lack of guitars and a fair amount of material that I wouldn’t be too shocked to hear playing in the club. (Ok, yeah I would.) Still they do seem to be courting the dance world, from the heavy-handed synths on “Zero Seconds Pause” to the unintentionally hilarious break on “Mario’s Flaming Whiskers III.” Initial disorientation aside though, this album fits together perfectly. Syncopated dance beats sit nicely alongside left-field jazz sections and crazy electronics. Breakup Songs just improves with each listen. Then, to make sure you’re on board, there’s an amazing song with the amazing title, “The Trouble with Candyhands.” It could only be described as mambo with a sunny-pop chorus and I could listen to it again and again without tiring of it. This is a fantastic and rewarding album as long as you have a taste for the weird. Then again, if you didn’t have a taste for the weird you wouldn’t be interested in Deerhoof in the first place.