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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Deerhoof
Milk Man
Kill Rock Stars

Rating: 9/10 ?


October 1, 2004
"Your school days are the best days of your life" is a sentence I've been on the receiving end of many a time. I don't doubt it for a second, but I do think that perhaps the saying could be refined to "between the ages of about nine and 12 years old are the best days of your life". During this brief period, for boys at least, your days consisted of climbing trees, making dens, exploring derelict buildings and generally creating harmless mischief. The inconvenience of puberty was yet to kick in, academic stress was non-existent and the opposite sex was nothing more than a minor hindrance. Whether your bike was as good as your mates' is the only concern life may hand you. These cherished years were characterized by freedom and energy, and with responsibility, anxiety and problematic relations being non-issues. From a personal perspective at least.

With Milk Man, Deerhoof capture this feeling of energetic innocence, skipping their way through eleven new songs of avant-pop. Now on their seventh full-length release, they have established a sound that is instantly recognizable as their own: a style that is hectic and wild, yet still cheerful and full of fun. Milk Man is Deerhoof at their most refined, with a more focused approach emerging. Although despite this, the loveable buoyant undertones remain, making Milk Man appreciable on a number of levels. Satomi Matsuzaki's voice alone takes Deerhoof onto new ground, as experienced on the likes of Reveille and Apple O', but when backed up by jerky rhythms that embody such vigour and liveliness, the whole package is certain to turn the heads that are still yet to be turned.

The opening title-track acts as a sneak preview for the next thirty minutes, interweaving key changes and a range of dynamics, with Matsuzaki's cheerful vocals floating gracefully on top. In true Deerhoof fashion, nothing is over-complicated and although a roller-coaster ride is crammed into a few short minutes, it fits in seamlessly. "Giga Dance" reminds me of the music you hear in the haunted house ride at the fun fair, the organ offering a creepy, yet subtly charming touch to keep you on your toes. "Desaparaceré" is possibly Deerhoof at their most understated, with cute electronic drums backing up a comfortable chord-pattern played on the keys, providing light, yet somewhat hypnotic relief after the dual assault of the opening two tracks. The spontaneous blasts of noise reminiscent of their earlier material are evident on "Rainbow Silhouette of the Milky Rain" and "That Big Sun Orange Sun Run Over Speed Light", both being as difficult to digest as the other, but in an entirely captivating fashion. In fact, there's not a single dud on display here. Each track carries its own character, compliments the others and seeps allure in its own enigmatic way.

As of late Deerhoof have been churning out the albums at a remarkable rate, averaging one every year for the last six years. It seems they have discovered a niche over which they may reign, and with Milk Man they have exploited it to its full extent. They manage to stretch the boundaries, contrasting the quiet with the riot, while maintaining a poppy, gleeful edge. It's pretty damn difficult to listen to Milk Man without grinning, let alone breaking out into a childish giggle, such is the perfect execution on offer. Deerhoof require your attention if you've not focused it their way already, and for those familiar with them, this new record will be everything you hoped and expected it would. Right, I'm off to climb some trees!

Reviewed by Mike Wright
A staff writer based in London, England, Mike Wright is eternally troubled by the American bastardization of the English language.

See other reviews by Mike Wright

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