Three Imaginary Girls

Seattle's Indie-Pop Press – Music Reviews, Film Reviews, and Big Fun

Okay. A bloody frig'n mess, Deerhoof and a Milk Man sleeping in the nude, means what? Good question. With Deerhoof's "Milk Man" we have a full-blown musical circus that leaves you a bit numb — not totally confident as to what just happened. I found this record refreshingly disconcerting.

Too often artists get stuck and produce something that is safe. They give the listener what they want — not what they need. I'm not sure what this record is, but safe it is not. Upon my initial listening I knew something was up. First off, Satomi Matsuzaki's vocals simply freak me out. They're very cute in an irrefutably eerie way. Her lyrics — mesmerizing pieces of shattered poetry in broken English, Japanese, and Spanish — make me check under my bed for dolls with sharp instruments and a blood lust.

Vocals are all well and good, but what makes or breaks a band is the music. Throw around names such as June of 44, Black Dice, Jim Henson, The Beatles and they all fit, but none of them give a fair or accurate description of Deerhoof's sound. This band is very exciting in their desire to shun the conventional rock modes and the labels that they garner.

The title track "Milk Man" sounds like a fusion of Lightning Bolt and Genesis. The changes are abrupt and jarring, yet unflappable and almost ultra-catchy. The instrumental "Rainbow Silhouette of the Milky Rain" sounds like forty-something year-old punk rockers doing a Las Vegas lounge act. The most coherent/traditional track might be "C", which is a more driving spaz-rock tune with minimalist lyrics and hand claps, but even this song turns on itself by the winter of its life. It ends with a slow, sparse, drudging, distorted bass, guitar feed back, bells, vocal squeaks (xylophone?) and synth.

As many times as I've listened to "Milk Man," it stills makes me say "WTF!" every so often. Although it is as close as you can come to creating a master piece the biggest problem I have with it is that it is almost too playful for me to truly enjoy it and make it a staple in my musical diet. I worry that if I listen to this enough that Mario or Luigi might try to take to a party in a castle up on a cloud. With that said, this record is one of the most challenging rock records to come out this year and worth checking out. In fact if you're a music junkie/geek you really have no choice other than to go get your very own copy of this gem.

Deerhoof stands with only a small handful of bands that are putting out totally original cutting edge rock music. More importantly/impressively they're doing it in way that even Justin and Britney can listen and enjoy without feeling too scared or confused. Now that's something.