Six months after the release of their 12th studio album, the wildly undefinable D.I.Y. noise-pop act, Deerhoof, has blown their international fan-base another sweet kiss with the release of their recent digital EP, We Do Parties. I for one, will take it on the cheek with a rosy blush and a nervous smile. But for a band who has the reputation of peppering their deepening catalogue with freebie EP’s, and fan-friendly promotional stunts, you have to wonder why they didn’t just put this one out as another gimme for the fans? Or maybe a guerilla marketing power-move similar to the ’09 release of Deerhoof vs. Evil, where the band initiated a global album leak of their own material by allowing twelve blogs in different countries to premiere a song from the album one week at a time. Yes, you read that correctly, a global album leak. Surely Deerhoof’s staggeringly inventive flair– on every level, is the only thing you can blame for such monumental expectations.
We Do Parties is an intriguing sampler platter showcasing Deerhoof’s recklessly playful sound and sonic flexibility, that if given to the hungry hungry hipsters of the nation, could damn well spread like wild fire. While remaining considerably heady in terms of sonic intrigue, We Do Parties ultimately consists of four tracks, plus a music video of the eponymous first track taken from 2012’s Breakup Song LP. Though Breakup Song was well received from a critical standpoint, the re-release of We Do Parties in EP form, along with the addition of the music video might suggest that Deerhoof is actually prompting us to take another look, and maybe even give them a shot on a more mainstream medium; if radio won’t save itself by evolving out of the top forty shit-list, then viral venues are the next best thing for a band like Deerhoof.
We Do Parties opens with the fabulously catchy dance thrash title track of the same name, and right off the bat you know why they re-released it without alterations. Featuring a strung out combination of old school riffs, robo-rock-tronic pulse, and sheer noise that stands somewhere between psych-pop occult, and post-punk disco revolt; We Do Parties hits the mark hard by emphasizing Deerhoof’s mystical ability to bounce effortlessly between complex moments of tension, and simple moments of bliss. In the end, contrast is one of Deerhoofs most intriguing fortes, and nothing sums it up better then the livid drum lines that Greg Saunier lays out in trancendental haste, or the unnervingly cutesy asian pop vocals of Satomi Matsuzaki as she sings ‘I’m coming to you, coming to you, coming to you from a speaker deep inside.’
The second track, “Mario’s Flaming Dessert” is a digital remix which highlights Deerhoof’s capability to produce just as easily as bang out live noise, and expounds further the offbeat thesis they maintain in never repeating themselves. It is intriguing more then it is honed, but the capacity to create something fun and experimental, put it out, and move onto the next thing is also a hallmark of Deerhoof sound. Track three, “Just For That,” follows a very similar vein in building an experimental sound collage that is reminiscent of John Cages’ sound art, and some of the utterly acid tinged moments of Beatles albums. Definitely not for a mainstream audience, and in the scope of a 4 track EP, I’m inclined to view brash tracks like this as a hinder to Deerhoof’s own popularity– once again though, these guys do whatever they want, and to a certain extent, you have to let them.
The final track stands as somewhat of poignant artistic move in my mind: a cover of the Velvet Underground classic, “All Tomorrow’s Parties.” Surprisingly, Deerhoof does little to transform the song into their own, which comes off as both a deliberate and appropriate way to explain themselves to confounded listeners at a loss for definition. Both Nico and Matsuzaki’s vocals operate similarly, and the tendancies of the Velvet Underground to play with boundaries between sweet and savage, social and anti-social, pop and experimental, are all very much within Deerhoof’s musical scope.
In the end, We Do Parties is a decent Deerhoof 101 sample of songs pulled from the surprise bag, but given that it is composed half of recycled releases, and half of experimental oddities, it is not a very economic way to spend five bucks. Check out the video for We Do Parties on Youtube, absorb the Deerhoof flavor, and use your five bucks to go buy any of their full length albums at your local used record store. They are all an interesting experience, to say the least.