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Deerhoof
MILK MAN
(Kill Rock Stars)
Stars graphics

These quirky Bay Area post-punkers come saddled with a name that sounds transported direct from the early-’90s grunge boom. I kept confusing them with the J. Mascis–endorsed GobbleHoof until I saw them play a warehouse in Providence a couple of years ago, where they dressed as stuffed animals and rammed shards of angular guitar fuzz into the kind of pure-pop choruses that no grunge band since Nirvana would be caught dead doing.

On their seventh album, the group continue to exploit the delicious tension between those two extremes. The opening title track unfurls a string of triumphant prog-rock arpeggios, then slathers on a coating of rude amplifier blurt before singer Satomi Matsuzaki introduces the latest in her seemingly endless supply of precious, high-voiced melodies. "Giga Dance" begins with an ominous organ-and-guitar fanfare lifted from your average church-burning Norwegian’s fakebook but quickly gives way to asymmetrical no-wave rhythmic clatter; "Dog on the Sidewalk" features Matsuzaki’s cheery refrain of the title phrase as well as a smear of disjointed PowerBook pings. "Milking," a sort of candy-colored, preadolescent version of Sonic Youth’s Sister-era noise pop, finds Deerhoof interrogating the tools of unbridled rock abandon while toying with them at the same time.

BY MIKAEL WOOD


Issue Date: April 23 - 29, 2004
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