After 16 years, 11 albums and numerous personnel changes, San Francisco's Deerhoof are coming of age. Far from slowing down, on Deerhoof Vs. Evil their itchy, primary-colored avant-rock is fuelled on compressed energy. Their ball-of-lightning sound fizzles with disorienting production tics — flashes of dub, electronic percussion and dropped-in abstract interludes, which throw weird angular shapes beneath bassist Satomi Matsuzaki's ludicrously catchy stream-of-consciousness vocal hooks.
Twin guitarists John Dieterich and Ed Rodriguez dominate the mix, equally comfortable with delicate Spanish guitar trills ("No One Asked To Dance"), kora-like repetitions ("Must Fight Current"), overdriven Keith Richards licks ("Secret Mobilization") and thick, dueling power chords. Greg Saunier's drums — informed by both house and hip-hop — clatter and worry the music along. "The Merry Barracks" — written, according to Satomi, to overcome her fear of low bass frequencies from cars — riffs on a glam rock bass line stomp; instrumental "Let's Dance the Jet" with its pungent, soupy electric organ, seems lifted from the soundtrack for a Greek film; Brazilian Tropicalia lurks behind the stream-of-consciousness "Must Fight Current." Rapturous closer "Almost Everyone, Almost Always" points to a parallel universe in which the band is a more synth-dominated outfit. The huge-sounding Deerhoof Vs. Evil was entirely self-recorded and produced in a variety of practice spaces and basements. Evildoers of the world, be very afraid.