Title: Breakup Song
Record Label: Polyvinyl
Going through a breakup can be an emotionally draining time; especially where feelings are concerned it can feel like the end of the world. Hurtling through the spirit crushing lows and then the prospect of new beginnings, it’s positively brain frying. The noise band Deerhoof have managed to encapsulate the turbulent experience of a relationship fragmenting within their twelth LP, Breakup Song. If there is anyone that could fry a human brain with their sonic onslaught it’s Deerhoof.
The rollercoaster of emotions is soundtracked by the ever evolving soundscapes Breakup Song possesses. At times the quartet can be heard twisting and contorting with serrated guitar riffs and cracked beats and then at the flip of a coin the noise shifts to manipulated electronics and brass stabs. A telling contrast within Breakup Song is that while the music is complex, like attempting a Rubik Cube while wearing oven mitts, lyrically and vocally things are kept quite simple. Satomi Matsuzaki’s vocal contains a child like quality which makes straightforward wordplay, like “When you say it’s all over” heard on the title track, punctuate through the cacophony. ‘Flower’ continues with the simplistic approach boasting the line “Let it go leave it all behind”. The track comes midway through the record and is a pivotal moment because it illustrates a mood of acceptance towards the current end of a relationship. ‘To Fly or Not to Fly’ obliterates the calm of the previous track with its apocalyptic guitar shredding acting like the audio equivalent of destroying your ex’s car as they watch on.
Known for their uncompromising voyages into deconstructed noise, the band still manage to remain unpredictable with the dissonant clatter of ‘Bad Kids to the Front’ to almost pop friendly nugget ‘Fete d’Adieu’. The former has the appeal of listening to an arsenal of different songs at differing speeds and volumes at the same time, while the latter is a hazy, more or less joyful ditty.
Head achingly noisy, simple yet complex, Breakup Song works on many levels; the discordant sound of heartbreak has never sounded so beguiling yet so intense. A schizophrenic listen from beginning to end.
Words and thoughts of Adam Williams