Deerhoof: “The Trouble With Candyhands”
It should be stated before we begin that, even at their most accessible and tuneful, the music of San Francisco art-rockers Deerhoof can be downright strange. And when they get into full on aural decoupage mode, it can get to be a long slog. But much like listening to the most difficult avant-jazz or freaky prog, with hard listening comes great reward. Under Deerhoof’s sometimes-anarchic arrangements, bleeps, bloops and singer Satomi Matsuzaki’s child-like falsetto lies an intense creativity and musical adventurism that’s tough to beat.
Deerhoof have been critical darlings almost since the band’s founding. Albums like 2002′s excellent Reveille are almost flawless slices of art-rock. Deerhoof started as a collaboration between guitarist Rob Fisk and drummer Greg Saunier. The pair issued Deerhoof’s first official single, a skronking, home-recorded, four-track affair called “The Return of the Wood M’Lady,” in 1994 on the Kill Rock Stars label. In 1996, The Japanese-born Matsuzaki joined the group on vocals and bass. As the years have gone by, members have come and gone (including founder Fisk) and Deerhoof’s compositions have become more and more cohesive, but the one constant has been Matsuzaki’s arresting, innocent singing style. It remains one of the most recognizable elements of the group.
On September 3 Deerhoof is set to release their latest record Breakup Song. One of the first singles off the new record, “The Trouble With Candyhands,” is today’s song of the day. It’s a giddy, if a bit schizophrenic, track. The song shifts (sometimes almost on a dime) from saucy cha-cha in the verses to bubbly, early 60s-ish pop on the chorus. In lesser hands the two stitched-together pieces of the song would be choppy and a tad distracting, but Deerhoof makes the transitions feel effortless.