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Deerhoof Keeps Sound Pleasantly Unique and Results Typically Satisfying on 'La Isla Bonita'


Society always celebrates the records that top the Billboard 200 album chart. Back of The Billboards is a Music Times weekly segment that looks at the opposite end: the new record that finished closest to the back of the Billboard 200 for the previous week. We hope to give a fighting chance to the bands you haven't heard of.

Week of 11/14/2014
WHO: Deerhoof
WHAT: La Isla Bonita
SPOT: 200

Few bands are better at variating off of the same idea as Deerhoof. Although fans of the band recognize vocalist Satomi Matsuzaki for her quirky delivery style, it should be more recognized as the fourth rhythm instrument in the San Francisco band's attack: Of course the percussion and bass serve as more typical rhythm sections but the piecemeal playing Ed Rodriguez and John Dieterich also serve as more atypical sources of tempo (albeit a solo finds its way in here or there). The approach is always the same but the idea is never the same. Interestingly, there's little backlash to any album put out by the group (AllMusic has given each of the band's last nine albums exactly four stars...although we may have added or signed a few points here or there, we can't argue that any of the records are bad products).

So what differentiates La Isla Bonita from the rest of the catalogue? The band admitted that The Ramones provided an influence, or at least the group's attempt to mimic its cover of the punk icon's "Pinhead." The results are some rougher guitars on tracks like "No Exit," although the playfully cynical lyrics on that track aren't copped from The Ramones per se...Deerhoof has always been a tad snarky.

We wouldn't argue that this album has the same feeling of a theme running through its veins such as Breakup Song or Deerhoof vs. Evil (the band's previous Polyvinyl releases) but even those were a tad loose at the seams, so no reason why a mishmash of tracks such as La Isla Bonita presents can't be just as enjoyable.

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