Review: Deerhoof-Offend Maggie

7 10 2008




Offend Maggie 

[2008, Kill Rockstars]



Album art done by Tomoo Gokita

“Offend Maggie” attempts to kick off much the same as Nick Hornbys Rob Gordon (High Fidelity) describes his perfect mixtape should, in which he writes, “The making of a great compilation tape, like breaking up, is hard to do and takes ages longer than it might seem. You gotta kick it off with a killer, to grab attention. Then you got to take it up a notch, but you don’t wanna blow your wad, so then you got to cool it off a notch. There are a lot of rules”. Deerhoof blew their wad. Despite the fact that the first fifth of “Offend Maggie” is groovy yet rough, Deerhoof manages to bring the rest of the album to reach a seemingly endless lull of questionably improvised jams for the middle eight tracks or so.

“The Tears and Music of Love” seemed strategically symphonic, reaching moments of orchestrated celebration in peaks of pop sensitive pseudo choruses, sporadically intertwined with whiney guitar cuts and snappy reverb ridden drums maintaining a tap-your-fingers-on-the-steering-wheel-in-time-with-worthy beat. To break a new listener in to this creative combination of cuts, I advise one to check out the Youtube referenced live video of this rockin’ record opener featured on Deerhoofs website, The mixing on the drums, when they come together like such, leaves the listener with the soulful low end painfully absent in tracks such as “Numina O” and “Don’t Get Born”, where I can’t help but feel the attempt at sensitivity is too strongly blended with obscure, treble-torn vocal anti-harmonies, making it sound forced at times.

On a preliminary listen through of the album, the first discernable lyrics I was able to make out were “Bas-ket-ball, Bas-ket-ball, Bas-ket-ball”, off of (you guessed it) “Basket Ball Get Your Groove Back”.  It was a let down as far as a deeper meaning is concerned, not to mention too far into the album to give a listener such a shallow message for so long to wait. If Captain Willard stuck it out for that long up the Nung River to find Captain Kurtz sipping mojitos and blowing Cambodian transsexuals he would have terminated with more than extreme prejudice, and so shall I. I dig the NCAA Final Four as much as the next keg chugging, toilet paper throwing, diaper-donning destitute of a frat boy, but proclaiming your undying love to shooting some hoops (and not hot off the cut of “Detox”) in such an obtuse manner craps all over my soul.

When done with the album I some how wound up with Stereo Totals “I Love You Ono” stuck in my head, if anyone else remembers that Sony Handycam commercial. The high, preteen, semi-melodic jig is reminiscent of the more poppy moments of “Offend Maggie”, minus the euro-synth and discoteque beat. I’m not so sure this adds to the album for me. In order for me to best summarize the entire work as descriptively as possible, I’d like to pretend “Offend Maggie” was composed by Princess Peach (Princess Toadstool to all you Yanks) while she was waiting for Mario and Luigi to rescue her from her tower of imprisonment. Despite me never really being attracted to Princess Peach/Toadstool myself, the superb snare sound adds and possibly creates rare, but enjoyable moments of cohesion, thus delivering moments of blissfully catchy pop, when not squeakily working against their hit or miss guitar grinds and esophageal squeaks.

“Offend Maggie” coincides mix-matched guitar notes and vocal tones, often in the same key, yet going different directions, sometimes slathering your ears with just the high end of each manipulating, discordant melody created between the two, intermingled with the occasional cohesive collaboration of absurd pop sensibility. These rare moments seem to make the album worth it, filling up the empty spaces created by walls of high ended six stringed riffs, and whining (moaning, singing, whatever). This seemingly random competition between chaos and catchy riffs often leaves one pondering if the album itself has an imbalance of its glutamate neurotransmitter, giving you this schizophrenic/Angelina Jolie in “Girl Interrupted” vibe. Forget Maggie, I was offended.


Fabakis Rating: 6.8





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