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Album Review: Deerhoof – La Isla Bonita

Album: La Isla Bonita
Tracks: 10
Release Date: 4th November 2014
Label: Polyvinyl Records

American band Deerhoof are about to release their new album, La Isla Bonita, on 4th November 2014 through Polyvinyl Records. Deerhoof have been releasing albums since 1997, and La Isla Bonita will be their 13th.

The opening track on the album is Paradise Girls. Its difference from other music hits you immediately and it can’t be described by a single genre. Its sound clearly has influences of rock, pop and electronic music but there also seems to be a world music influence as well. The previous list of different genres may seem like an odd mix but Deerhoof blend these influences incredibly well and the song doesn’t sound out of place, although there’s very little else like it. During the opening moments of the track, there is potential for the song to be jarring, but over time this feeling goes away and it makes a great opener for the album.

The following track on the album is titled Mirror Monster. This track has a significantly lower pace than the previous and sounds a lot more chilled out. This track is reminiscent of the music of Massive Attack due to its use of echoey, ringing guitar sounds throughout, a steady drum beat and an almost ‘dreamy’ vocal performance from lead singer Satomi Matsuzaki. This track really shows off the varied sounds that Deerhoof are capable of and is a great example of the band’s heavily influenced but still unique sound.

A highlight of the album is the track Last Fad. It’s one of the more rock tracks on the record. The melody is particularly catchy and unlike many of the songs on the album it doesn’t feature too many disjointed, multi-genre-spanning influences and therefore provides a nice break between the more unique tracks of the record. Although, the track does open with a scratchy guitar riff which is quite a jarring sound at first. The simple verses, which only have percussion backing the vocal line, are juxtaposed to a catchy chorus with heavy use of scratchy guitar sounds, which makes for a unique song overall and an interesting listen.

A key track on this album is Exit Only. After rehearsing the band’s cover of The Ramones’ Pinhead, they expressed an interest in writing a song just like it, so they did. It was recorded in one take and is the most punk song on the record. The track sounds incredibly authentic due to its loud guitar sounds, D-I-Y style from being recorded in one take and its repetitive, simple lyrics – it could easily be mistaken for being written and recorded decades ago.  This track is the stand out from La Isla Bonita and could easily become a classic in the genre.

A couple of the songs on this record don’t have much impact and almost go by without being noticed, like Big House Waltz and God 2. Although, the latter has an interesting guitar solo break near the end which does make it slightly more memorable than some songs. The weaker tracks on La Isla Bonita are not a problem because they are clearly outweighed by many stronger, more interesting and innovative ones.

The final track on the album is Oh Bummer. With its slow building, scratchy and echoing sound, it was a great choice as the closer for the album. It still has many of the unique features of the rest of the album, but there’s something less jarring about the track which gives you an unsurprising and enjoyable end to La Isla Bonita, except for the echoing and scratching guitar sounds that break out near the end of the track!

Time and time again on La Isla Bonita, Deerhoof show they are not afraid of the music they’re making. It may sound odd or disjointed at first but their confidence to have this unique sound means it wins you over in no time at all.

La Isla Bonita is available on 4th November 2014, through Polyvinyl Records.

If you’d like to find out more about Deerhoof, you can visit the links below:

Official Website | Twitter | Facebook


About The Author

Currently studying for a degree in Music and Entertainment Industry Management at University of Hertfordshire.

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