Deerhoof – Offend Maggie

October 9, 2008

The latest album from San Francisco Bay Area based band Deerhoof kicks off with “The Tears And Music Of Love,” which has a pretty irresistible classic rock-style guitar riff. There’s nothing else quite like it on the rest of the album, though as a rocker, “Eaguro Guro” comes close. The rest of the album mixes up experimental pop, New Wave, punk, rock and jazz into a typically heady mix. I ended up dividing this album into thirds: The first third I counted as the first three tracks, the second third being tracks four through eight, and the last third comprising tracks nine through fourteen. (Time-wise, however, what I’m thinking of as the last third is probably half the album.) I liked the first third and the last third the best. The middle third consists of a series of songs that are, save for “My Purple Past,” two minutes or less, and often felt more like sketches of songs than complete songs, though that said, I did like the guitar work on the title track, “Offend Maggie.” I turned off to the album a bit during those tracks, at any rate, but “Family Of Others,” with its lovely harmonies, pulled me in again. From that point on, I really liked the rest of the album, including the song “Fresh Born,” which the band invited fans to do cover versions of some months back. What I appreciated throughout the album, even on the tracks I wasn’t as interested in, was the meticulous fashion in which the band put their songs together, how each element of each song was placed alongside each other to either complement the other or to contrast or flat out oppose it, creating compelling harmonies and tensions that may go undiscovered on first listens. Offend Maggie is brainy, eclectic indie pop music carefully crafted by a first rate group of artists. It’s also a lot of fun to listen to. Bonus! Standout cuts: “The Tears And Music Of Love,” “Family Of Others,” “Fresh Born” and “Jagged Fruit.”