Jun 11

Deerhoof: “Siriustar”


♪ One (or more) of these things is not like the other… ♪

Okay, I’ll say it right off: I have no idea what Deerhoof’s Satomi Matsuzaki is singing about nearly any of the time. Even when I understand her somewhat fractured-sounding English, it’s all coming from another plane of understanding…but that’s okay with me. What may be difficult to follow lyrically speaking all makes sense of a sort when paired with Deerhoof’s music, which is sort of a Pixies, Led Zeppelin, Sonic Youth, Shonen Knife, Yoko Ono 10-car pileup (the passengers of the other five cars are still to be determined). Describing the music any more than that can only be done by throwing out a number of adjectives: Experimental, poppy, weird, cute, eccentric, amplifier-blasting, drum-soloing, rocking, loud, quiet, ________. Fill in your own…

Matsuzaki actually doesn’t sound that much like Yoko Ono, thankfully…her voice is more pleasing and, honestly, kind of adorable. Definitely more in line with Shonen Knife in that way. It’s just that Deerhoof’s more experimental moments brings to mind Yoko’s sensibilities at times. But even at their most noisy, there’s still an undercurrent of catchy pop running just under the surface. It’s all kept together by their incredible drummer, Greg Saunier. Having seen Deerhoof — a trio at the time — live a few years ago at Seattle’s Bumbershoot music festival, I can attest that the man is a whirlwind of energy, a combination of John Bonham and Keith Moon all wrapped into one. Truly remarkable to watch…

“Siriustar,” from 2005’s The Runners Four album, is the song that first introduced me to Deerhoof — it grabbed my attention immediately. It’s a slower song than some of their others, but what it lacks in tempo is made up for by the slow-building tension and creeping power of the alternating silences and screeching freakouts. There’s a heavy Pixies vibe running throughout — aided also by the resemblance of Matsuzaki’s voice to the cuteness factor of Kim Deal’s singing with the Pixies. For some reason, the change to the pretty melody of the bridge here also brings to mind Paul McCartney and Wings’ “Mrs. Vanderbilt,” but only briefly, as the song careens back into its screech-and-silence moments later. It’s a remarkable song from a very unusual but satisfying band. And I think I’m happier not having any clue at all as to what it’s about.

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