Release Date: Nov 27, 2015
Record label: Deerhoof
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
Head here to submit your own review of this album. Deerhoof is my favorite live band. In seven years of living in the Twin Cities, they've come through at least once for each album since Offend Maggie, and they proudly play at least one track off each of those records whenever I get the chance to see them. There's not one nuance from any of these collected memories that wasn't taken from the album, blown out to maximal volume, and had its metronome switched out for flashing emergency lights.
What's the best thing about San Francisco noise-pop heads Deerhoof: Is it their hyper-pop sensibilities, or their nuanced, deconstruction of it, their tendency to build up a perfect pop ditty and then tear it apart? For 20 years, the foursome have revelled in the sonic space between the two extremes. On live album Fever 121614, they succeed on both fronts; this showcase of a Tokyo show from last year finds the four-piece sounding revitalized, crashing into each song with frenetic energy. On record, Deerhoof succeed at sounding manic, unpredictable and hyperactive, and in the live context, they lean into that energy, hard; La Isla Bonita cut "Exit Only" starts the energy off strong with its straight-ahead riffing, and the band don't let it up over the course of the album.
Somehow able to continuously skate the cliff of insanity for extended periods of time without falling, Deerhoof is a true pearl of progressive rock (while still holding off on the proggy bullshit, thank God). And coming off like a really pissed off version of Can, the sound of the band onstage is unmistakable—blistering, abstract, pummeling, fun! Fever 121614, Live in Japan is a more than welcome artifact of Deerhoof's contemporary live show (unbelievably, the San Francisco group has been around for more than 20 years now), and is every bit as weird and compelling as it should be. .
There’s one key adjective to describe Deerhoof live: wild. The band’s sound itself can be divisive for crowds, as it often leaps through the deconstructed borderlands between punk, art rock, and noise pop. Members of the band tend to stand still, but they’re vibrating at their cores, matching the unharnessed electricity of the crowd gathered in front of them.
Captured live in Japan in the dimming days of 2014, this package from the ever-reliable Deerhoof doesn’t disappoint. The band’s live performances are a powerful punch of manic energy, moving by with a power and dedication to surprise that leaves the listener/viewer completely unsure of what’s happened. That of course isn’t entirely unlike one of the many albums the quartet has issued over the last two decades.