La Isla Bonita
By: William Georges
Imagine winning the lottery every year since you were born. Now imagine you won this lottery from the purchase of one ticket, which was flown across seas by a bunch of foreigners to be hand delivered to your front door. This is the perfect storm of one musical group from SoCal, Deerhoof. Pessimism sucks, but it is to be asked, when speaking of Deerhoof: How much growth and innovation can come out of a 20 year old band headed by a Japanese girl limited to broken English? Sky’s the limit.
This album marks the 20th year anniversary of 3 man + 1 woman rock outfit Deerhoof. The members cited the albums direction towards Radiohead, Talking Heads, The Roots, and The Flaming Lips etc. And they do just that, Bonita at its peaks is a dark stormy calamity, transitioned to a sunny sky, tucked behind big bouncy green Nintendo 64 mountains. With its most accessible, fun sounds yet, Bonita manages to come off artsy edgy and funky.
There are times on this album where Deerhoof mix hooks and inaudible slurred vocals to create feeling, evident on the track “Doom”. “Exit Only”, a track smothered in lo-fi crunchy guitar where Satomi grins “Welcome to speech yo’ freedom!”, resulted as a twist on Deerhoof’s own inventive cover of The Ramones song “Pinhead”. Reinventing its own cover, a prime example of Deerhoof literally reinventing itself successfully over and over and over and over (times 20). The song “Oh Bummer”, 4 minutes in length, throws a variety of fun, scary and gloomy at you with its progressions from lighter instrumental to thicker, and heavier sounds backed by a shrilling Matsuzaki.
On an album like Bonita, where every moment feels necessary and innovative, the more songs, the merrier. Unfortunately with only 10 tracks, Deerhoof leaves you wanting more. However, the brief in-and-out fashion of this album is refreshing and intimate while you are in its company.
In 2014, Deerhoof continues to deliver, going as far as stepping down from its wacky stoop to please crowds.