Deerhoof, The Runners Four

Christopher R. Weingarten

By Christopher R. Weingarten

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

The Runners Four

We wonder: is this slab of greatness beautifully warped guitar-rock or spirit-moving noise?

With just a few minor tweaks — adding some tom-toms, letting the guitarist sing a few — San Francisco's cuddliest no-wavers have finally transformed into the full-blown noisepop savants they've been threatening to become for years. Topping a career-long crescendo into melodic territory with their sixth album, these San Francisco skronk-punks sacrificed none of their quirky parables ("When you're overly confident/ Then it's over before beginning the good part"), spasmodic drumming, Resident-ial guitar lines, free-noise bursts and obliquely catchy melody shards. They just made them lusher, more affable, more colorful and more infectious than ever. Never sounding so vulnerable or assured, Deerhoof constructed either the most beautifully warped guitar-rock record of the year, or the most spirit-moving noise record this side of Animal Collective.