Release Date: Jan 23, 2007
Record label: Kill Rock Stars
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
After the brilliant sprawl of The Runners Four, it would've made sense if Deerhoof continued in the same direction on their next album. It turns out that Friend Opportunity is a model of efficiency, packing just as much dazzling creativity into ten tracks as The Runners Four did into 20. This new approach could be seen as a reaction to the departure of Chris Cohen, who left to concentrate on his own band, the Curtains, but Deerhoof is such a mercurial group that some kind of change was inevitable.
If it's conventional song structures, sustained melodies and singalong choruses you're after, move on now. Deerhoof don't trade in such banalities: none of the 10 songs on this ear-boggling album sits still for longer than a minute, each one fidgeting like a hyperactive child who's just chomped down a few kilos of sweets. It should be maddening, but the trio understand that if you're going to write songs that sound like four songs spliced together, all the constituent parts must be equally enticing.
In an interview I conducted with Greg Saunier in 1999, the Deerhoof drummer spoke about the band’s shift in sound from 1997’s The Man, The King, The Girl to Holdypaws, which, upon its release in ’99, featured a sound far different than the noisiness that Deerhoof had previously plied, expounding on the pop sensibilities that lie underneath. “We want to make songs that any band can play…” he said, later adding, “If it works, what will be special about them is not the sound, but the composition. ” And while Holdypaws’ delightfully idiosyncratic pop was stripped down and purged of unnecessary ornament, it wasn’t long before Deerhoof began introducing more diverse instrumentation and the little flourishes that they had formerly disavowed.