Music Review

Deerhoof – Miracle-Level

todayApril 6, 2023 130

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By – Kristi Houk

Recommended If You Like – Melt-Banana, Television, Boris, No Age

Miracle (noun): An extremely outstanding or unusual event, thing, or accomplishment.

 

Deerhoof’s 19th album Miracle-Level thinks we could all use one about now.

On the San-Francisco based band’s Bandcamp page, Deerhoof urges the collective “we” (yes, in all caps) to:

“PHASE-OUT ALL REMAINING NON-MIRACLES BY 2028
WE NEED ONLY *LOVE* SONGS

(YES, THIS WORD GETS USED OFTEN)  

BUT I MEAN HIGH-LEVEL 

I MEAN MIRACLE LEVEL

LET’S WASH OUR DIRTY HANDS WITH LOVE…”

Looks like we have our work cut out for us. According to founding member and drummer, Greg Saunier, the album is concerned with ecological ruin. Have we gone too far? Is there a Plan B?

Sung entirely in Japanese, Miracle-Level is at once both hyper-focused and whimsical.  The album opens with vocalist/bassist, Satomi Matsuzaki, gently asking us to “Sit Me Down, Let Me Tell You a Story” and from there we embark on a playful, compelling journey. Throughout the record, the angular, arhythmic guitar licks remind me of Tom Verlaine via Television. (rip) and magnify the urgency within the album’s themes. The time to act is now.

There’s a great juxtaposition that happens musically on Miracle-Level. Take the ephemeral almost somber vocal stylings and minimal keyboard and drum soundscapes on the title track “Miracle Level” which could fit nicely, say, sipping an iced coffee on a hot day in a field of sunflowers. Then turn that sanguine image on its head with the following track “And the Moon Laughs” with its slap-you-in-the-face guitar fuzz and drone-y bass and vocals. Is this prog rock?

Miracle-Level is a fun ride albeit with serious implications. Let’s clean up this mess we’ve made if we still can.

 

Stand Out Tracks:  “My Lovely Cat,” “Miracle-Level,” “And the Moon Laughs”

Written by: kristi houk

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