Deerhoof is like that quiet kid you sat next to in second grade. The one who drew pictures of unicorns being devoured by sharks. The kid who terrified and fascinated you at the same time. Reveille, the band's third album, uses 16 melodious but maddening songs to evoke that same quirky innocence where fantasy tangles with reality. Singer Satomi Matsuzaki has magically transformed her trademark screech into a velvety purr, a move that facilitates the band's journey from the panicky racket of its previous albums to poppy, toe-tapping noise.
Each track adds a chapter to this twisted book of fairytales. "Punch Buggy Values" delivers a straightforward blast of drums that could have been pulled from the Boredoms' back catalog. "The Eyebright Bugler" is deceiving bubblegum pop -- it ends so quickly, you may just swallow that gum. In fact, the album's only faltering step is "No One Fed Me So I Stayed." Muffled cries mix with bluesy harmonica; listening to it is more reminiscent of a disturbing carnival sideshow than experimental goofiness. The final tune, "Hallelujah Chorus," proves to be the glue barely holding the previous songs together.
Reveille is a frustrating album to sit through. Accessible it is not. Just when the momentum picks up and you feel the urge to dance, the song screeches to a halt with a single note. The fantastical, laconic leanings of Deerhoof could lead listeners to believe this is a concept album. Consider it a children's storybook for the ADD set.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.