5. Deerhoof – Friend Opportunity
Kill Rock Stars
The closer to the end of this list I get, the harder I find it to find good adjectives to use, and also to express how fucking excellent the music in question is. Coincidentally, the closer to the end of this list I get, the more I also regret writing giant tracts about twenty-five albums instead of studying or writing music or something more productive. But that’s not Deerhoof’s fault. Friend Opportunity came out at the start of the year, so, in the worst crime against art since Elgin prised the friezes off the Parthenon, nobody put it on their lists. These lists are of course about two months old by now. But fuck it.
There are two sides to this album. On the one hand is the usual Deerhoof. Riffs that sound like those pictures where flights of stairs run into each other and defy perspective. Incredible infectiousness. Quirky, perceptive and confusing lyrics that sound like either a child or a woman with less English than Satomi Matsuzaki (or Greg Saunier) wrote them. Everything you loved about The Runners Four, Apple O’ or Milk Man is distilled here, perfected. The Perfect Me and +81 are two songs that I would have in an all-time indie pop single compilation, and the spiritual successor of Dog On The Sidewalk, Kidz Are So Small makes little or no sense, in the best way possible.
But then there’s also some sort of nameless melancholy that creeps in. Maybe it’s Greg’s voice. Maybe it’s the gaps between wall-shaking riffage. I don’t know what it is, but it’s there on Cast Off Crown, and even, despite the apparent nominal evidence to the contrary, on Choco Fight. Ignorance of Friend Opportunity should be punishable by death. A venerable band to be cherished and held aloft, with psycho-sugar meat-riff cutesie songs. Testing the boundaries of fun for the good of all mankind.
Their KRS page has a very good Things section with interviews and videos, and Bren has Greg in the first issue of Analogue, which pretty much inspired me to try to get involved in the first place.