Music Reviews



Kill Rock Stars

Deerhoof’s Reveille makes me swoon. Here’s why. “This Magnificent Bird Will Rise” flashes all the guitar crunch and bite of “My Generation” Who, but then swamps it in layers of tape loops and disembodied “doo doo doo doooos.” “The Eyebright Bugler” is perfect sun-kissed robo pop, with an awesome lyric manifesto, “Bang your head to your favorite song/It’s very mechanical.” Then it=EDs gone. The initial Cramps swagger and raunch of “Punch Buggy Valves” is tempered by random outbursts that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Residents album. A heavy Residents? It could be done! Keep in mind, that the vocals throughout all of this are sweet and pure as 7 am autumn daylight.

“Our Angel’s Lulu” builds and crashes around a singsong, simple melody line that is played over and over again, either as a pastoral vocal interlude, or as guitar skronk. Listen to the feedback buzz and burst, but never overwhelm the central harmony. “The Last Trumpeter Swan,” I suppose, could be called the centerpiece of the record. At least I think so, it’s the only song on the record to break the four-minute mark, and double it! It reminds me of a painfully stripped-down My Bloody Valentine. All the mystery and mantra is there, it’s just stripped down from the wall of noise. Repeating notes and segments fold in and out of themselves, disappearing and reappearing like a grand sonic Moebius Strip. By the time vocals enter the picture in any sort of lyrics, the song has settled into a nifty tense motorik groove. Which rides out into the sunset.

“Top Tim Rubies” has this great submerged Velvet Underground “Ocean” majesty feel – love! love! worship! perfection! It builds slowly on gentle melodies, toy box instruments and angelic falsettos. My fave! “Holy Night Fever” and “Frenzied Handsome, Hello!” rock like prime Royal Trux, save for the gentle and distant vocals. “Hallelujah Chorus” ends things on a hypnotic and teasing note – like a song that never fully started.

Deerhoof is as playful as Devo or the aforementioned Residents, but they have the lethal rock chops and swagger to back it up. Not to mention a sweeping harmonic scope that is perfectly counterbalanced by the otherworldly lo-fi soundz. Huzzah!

Kill Rock Stars:

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