Capsule Review: Offend Maggie by Deerhoof

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October 21, 2008

2:22 AM

The word “different” doesn’t begin to describe Deerhoof’s new album, “Offend Maggie.” Since 1996, the San Franciscan indie rock band has built a fair amount of experience, and it shows. Using chaotic, dissonant chords juxtaposed with offbeat vocals, the psychedelic, Japanese-rock feel of “Offend Maggie” stirs up one confusing concoction.

The first song, “The Tears of Music and Love,” thrusts the listener into Deerhoof’s surrealistically charming world, complete with catchy guitar riffs and innovative beats; such fresh musical experimentation feels mind-expanding, even enlightening. The album seems to have no real purpose other than artistic experimentation, using bizarre sounds and rhythms unheard of in pop culture. Satomi Matsuzaki leads Deerhoof with an amazingly nonsensical voice, often unintelligible to the first-time listener. Some songs like “Basket Ball Get Your Groove Back” fail in overall presentation, offering sounds that cannot even be classified within any musical genre and are and leave the listener dazed and confused. However, Deerhoof merely pushes the envelope with “Offend Maggie” without piercing the threshold of insanity. The band finds a pleasant balance between strange and acceptable, serving up mind-boggling song after song. Admittedly, the masses will not be nonchalantly whistling these lyrics whilst walking down the sidewalk. But if one has nothing better to do on a Friday night than chill with a few close friends in a lonesome room, then go try out “Offend Maggie.”

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