Deerhoof cut through all the average malarkey and get straight to the point. They have been doing this in two decades and their 11th studio album Breakup Song is no different. Their recent discography has been cluttered by sentimental contemporary music. Deerhoof vs. Evil and Offend Maggie are somewhat accessible albums, from a noise rock perspective. Deerhoof are the harsh, glitch version of Xiu Xiu, and with Breakup Song that feel of experimental/IDM music really shows.
At less than 30 minutes, Breakup Song becomes one of the shortest Deerhoof albums. In all respect, short and sweet beats long and sour. "Breakup Songs" opens with a very heavy and sporadic, electronic beat with lots of noise. Bassist and vocalist Satomi Matsuzaki highlights her soft nature, in comparison to the hard instrumental. Her voice has been a staple mark of Deehoof and recently extended her horizons as guest vocalist on The Go! Team's "Secretary Song". Like the opening track, "There's That Grin" resembles a heavy, synth heavy and noisy instrumental. There's this easy going and light keyboard riff, which mixes with the heavy instrumental and a brilliant guitar riff on the left, then right side of the speaker as the drum kit really lightens things up. Structure is nowhere to be seen as the track thrashes between guitar riffs and electronic drum beat and an actual drum beat.
Childlike noises are ever-present in Deerhoof's music, with "Bad Kids To The Front" having several moments of innocent instrumental. There are moments of pure beauty, and then there’s moments of sheer noise; a brilliant mix of the good, bad and what you might prefer in Deerhoof's musical content. “Zero Seconds Pause" is similar in style. A loud bass riff opens the track with synthesizers and a very abrasive percussion in the background. This is one of the dance-like tracks on the album, and also one of my favourites.
"Mothball The Fleet" is a highlight right at the centre of the album. The synth jabs sound a little out of place, but the acoustic avant-garde like instrumentation is ear catching. We hear the odd electric guitar riff here and there, like with "Flower". This track is far more jazz orientated with an emphasis on the structure, or lack-there-of. "To Fly or Not to Fly" is a much louder, distorted and heavier track. The synths enter almost instantly, with Satomi's light vocal sitting nicely over the sparkly beat. The little jabs of noise are welcomed and show a more dynamic side of this rather lucid album.
After the excitement of To Fly or Not to Fly, Breakup Song seems to fall down to its knees. The following track "The Trouble With Candyhands" is a funky track, but offers little new to Deerhoof's astounding calibre. "We Do Parties" is rather similar to many of the tracks here. The back half of this album sounds rushed and a little bit flat when compared to the first half. I don't think it's unfair to say that there's a lack of idea and imagination on tracks like We Do Parties and "Fкte d'Adieu". The second to last track "Mario's Flaming Whiskers III", is somewhat of a saviour when rating the back half of this album. There's this intense instrumental section which is full of high-pitched noises and heavy bass beats.
'Deerhoof are one of those bands' - That’s what you expect me to say isn't it? Well for the most part Breakup Song is a fresh look at indie rock with an electronic edge. The noise is not extinct from Breakup Song, but it's hardly identifiable. The synthesizers have taken over from guitars and the last few albums have shown this steady change in direction and musical style. Deerhoof are indeed one of those bands that you either love or hate. More importantly, they’re a band that you either understand or don't understand. Breakup Song is an album that's not hard to understand, however it is hard to see its purpose.