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Deerhoof - Mountain Moves CD (album) cover



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4 stars Somehow Deerhoof was sold to me as super-experimental and weird. Having this in mind, Mountain Moves is surprisingly accessible. Much of it could be appropriately labelled as art pop. A certain degree of weirdness is still there. Slow Motion Detonation is interesting art pop, made perfectly for Santomi's smooth naive voice. There's quite a bit of dynamic going on here, awesome song. Con Sordino goes on in the same vein, very catchy and positive, with some quite noisy guitar suddenly thrown in. I Will Spite Survive is another nice and catchy song with some good harmony vocals, a bit straighter, the level of sophistication has gone down from track 1 to 3 though. Come Down Here and Say That is quite groovy and atmospheric and twists surprisingly into electronic territory after 2/3 of the time. Gracias a la Vida is a slow melodramatic song with strings that one wouldn't expect in between the other stuff. Begin Countdown makes for a very nice contrast, starts rhythmic and goes on harmlessly for some time before degenerating into a monster. Then Your Dystopic Creation Doesn't Fear You has some surprisingly aggressive female vocals, probably by guest Awkwafina (there are special guests on most songs), a pleasant art pop part in the middle with some super surprising short instrumental interlude... more and more this reminds me of the way 10cc have put some of their songs together. Ay That's Me has yet another singer, changes between 5/4 and 6/4 and even stranger stuff later, the melody is smooth enough but later we are confronted with some harsh and rather outlandish guitar. Palace of the Governors is instrumental for about 1:40, melodic, glamorous and mostly electronic, they could've finished it like this but didn't, there's a bit of rather unremarkable singing in the end. Singalong Junk has a lot of "lalala" singing, it's rather slow but the melody is intricate enough. Mountain Moves has experimental minimalist 1980s new wave flavour and jazzer Matana Roberts on sax, good stuff. Freedom Highway is a rather cliched rock'n roll number, I could do without it but it adds to the overall variety. Sea Moves is flowing nicely with some atmospheric sound experiments and male voice for a change. Very good but just 2 minutes. Kokoye on the other hand gives the listener some changes that disturb the free flow; it's an interesting song that takes some getting used to. Small Axe is just piano plus Santomi, it's credited to Bob Marley and serves as some kind of lullabye in the end.

Overall this is pretty good fun. Some bits are really great, some I have more difficulties to make sense of. The contrast between some sparkling electronic sounds and a rather low fi sounding rough guitar is appealing; the drummer has both elements, tight and precise playing but an at times quite pedestrian sound and approach. Over all this there's Santomi's otherwordly voice, adding a dreamy girly touch to things. I set out to rate this with 3 stars because initially I thought that much of it can't keep the level of the marvellous opener, but I have warmed considerably to this. The band is very tight and features some great teamwork. It's full of diversity, surprises and nice ideas and leaves me smiling. 3.7 stars rounded to 4. 10cc fans listen to this!

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Posted Monday, April 2, 2018 | Review Permalink

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