Elevate Difference

Offend Maggie

Some people find Deerhoof unlistenable, with sometimes manic, screeching vocals over strange instrumentation. Some critics think they're twee, and some think they’re the best of noise rock. Most cannot slap a genre label on this expectation-bending band. There is occasional yelling and human-made sound effects, "Beep beep!" You have no idea where the songs will go, or when they will end. The lyrics may not sound like English, and while they are, it is not guaranteed that they will make sense.

On Offend Maggie, Deerhoof are in their typical bizarre, hyperactive form. The production quality is through the roof, making this album perhaps more accessible than their earlier releases, though the madness of their style is retained. “Fresh Born” is a series of words associated with baby animals, repeated. "Basket Ball Get Your Groove Back" also has a repetitive chorus of, "Rebound! Rebound!" "This Is God Speaking," which can hardly be classified as a song, is a series of distorted, Charlie Brown adult-type sounds with some clanky piano notes covering the incomprehensible groans. Only one of the fourteen songs clocks in over four minutes, and the album artwork—a cover image of a faceless man wearing headphones, parallel black and white lines inside—is disturbing and wonderful.

Yet some of the tracks here are almost ballads, melodic at times, consistently beautiful if consistently weird. Opener "The Tears of Music and Love" lives somewhere in between avant-garde awkwardness and loving harmonies. "Purple Past" sounds like it could be found on any number of other indie rock records, save the stylings of Deerhoof's signature vocalist, Satomi Matsuzaki. "Family Of Others" is reminiscent of Animal Collective with its woodsy appeal and quick switches between crooning and staccato onomatopoeia. The title track is perhaps the most appealing song and even amid its goofy lyrics of "Ring ring! I hang up!" it remains almost quaint, switching between something lyre-like tinkling and heavy electric guitar.

If you suffer from migraines, hate strobe lights, and think noise rock is for annoying hipsters, you will likely hate Deerhoof. Offend Maggie is nevertheless their most enjoyable record to date, and it is some of the most approachable noise pop on the scene.

Written by: Brittany Shoot, January 1st 2009