Breakup Song



by SwayzeFaced USER (6 Reviews)
September 8th, 2012 | 13 replies

Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Deerhoof continues to develop a sound uniquely their own amongst an onslaught of bands racing to catch up

With 18 years of practice, Deerhoof continues to develop a sound uniquely their own amongst an onslaught of bands racing to catch up. With artist such as Grizzly Bear, Dirty Projectors, The Flaming Lips, and TV On The Radio all citing Deerhoof as an influence on their sound, it’s hard to believe that you might not have heard of the band before, but with 15 years now between them and the release of their debut full-length My Man, My King, My Girl Deerhoof is one of the leading pioneers of modern pop psych rock, constantly growing, expanding, and reinventing their sound from album to album.

I first discovered the band only 5 years ago with the release of their 9th full length, Friend Opportunity. I was in college and like most kids going to a school whose main focus was music and entertainment-related things, I was always on the lookout for new and intriguing bands. When I first heard Friend Opportunity, it was almost like a revelation from the music gods. “Pop music is SAVED!” I thought to myself. Here was a band that so effortlessly mixed a variety of different popular styles of music that it could only be described as “avant garde” by most. From punk, to post rock, to heavy metal, to EDM, Deerhoof has sampled them all, and with the release of their latest album, Breakup Song (09/04/12), it doesn’t appear as though the group plans to stop experimenting with various genres of popular music any time soon.

Breakup Song starts off with the jarring title track during which massively distorted electronic sounds warble through the speakers while Satomi Matsuzaki’s bright, airy vocals reverberate over the top of the melodic embellishments, setting the tone for yet another beautifully bizarre album. “There’s That Grin” shifts tonality immediately from the opening note. The song has an instant dance-ability and fills you with a sense of fun before the first four measures are even completed.

Before you know it, horns are blasting, electronics are squealing, and you are lead into “Bad Kids to the Front,” which has an odd, worldly EDM vibe. The drumbeat shuffles on the hi-hat, and the synths sound like a glorious robot meltdown. Beeps, boops, chimes, and a surprisingly normal fat-bottom bass line carry you through the song, which seems focused mostly on creating a trance layered version of what I can only describe as a future city during rush hour.

“Zero Seconds Pause” starts off with an electro-boogie feel (think “Planet Rock”) only to transition into a funky carioca progression just measures later. Not to be outdone by the constant swapping of musical genres from earlier songs, “Mothball the Fleet” does not break the pattern the rest of Breakup Song has set. The strum of what sounds like an electronic guqin rings out over a jostling drumbeat. The track only takes a break from the chaos every now and again for the strum of a guitar before ending with a soul-filled vocal by Matsuzaki and a piano line that once again changes the entire dynamic of the song.

Unrelenting in its focus to be ever-evolving, the album’s 6th track, “Flower,” once again creates an entirely different world from the rest of Breakup Song. An electric organ and other unidentified synths chase each other up and down scales, gallivanting around a swinging, jazz-filled drum and bass line. The song culminates with a quirky, pop-filled indie rock vibe that leaves you wondering how many more genres Deerhoof could possibly squeeze into one album. The answer is apparently a lot.

“To Fly or Not to Fly” starts off with a staunch EDM vibe, that sort of building synth wave that has become popular with a lot of the dubstep groups of the day, only to then blend into some demonic, industrial metal-inspired German techno machine before you can even break out your glow-in-the-dark body paint. Besides having a very amusing name, “The Trouble with Candyhands” is also probably my favorite track off Breakup Song. With a versatile surf-rock sound, it fades in and out of a big band jazz feel, blending the two genres in a way I have never heard before nor previously thought possible.

Ending the album is another of one my favorites, “Fete d’Adieu.” This track is probably as close as Deerhoof comes to conforming to the style of past albums. With its smooth, laid-back guitar progression accompanied by soft, poppy chanting vocals, the song transports me to a cartoon-like world, and it’s a well-deserved break from the multi-genre stylings of the previous songs featured on Breakup Song. Altogether, it’s a very powerful ending track for the album.

What Deerhoof has done with Breakup Song is shove, cram, force, kick, and punch their way through so many genres that at times the average music listener’s head may spin just trying to keep up with one song, let alone sit through the entire album. The end result is 30 minutes of the most inspirational works of art this decade has seen. Whether you like some of the genres Deerhoof has covered in Breakup Song or not, the pure talent necessary to mold so many together demands respect. I would suggest this album to anyone looking to expand their musical palate and experience a general upheaval of what they thought music is or should be.

Deerhoof is currently on tour supporting Breakup Song with dates from now until early December. Make sure to check them out if you haven't seen them live because I assure you, it is another experience entirely.

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Comments:Add a Comment 
September 8th 2012


Album Rating: 4.0

Originally posted @

September 8th 2012


You can really tell they thought that album art through

September 8th 2012


Album Rating: 4.0

Seems to be a trend amongst bands today. "Take a bunch of photos, pick the most ironic one."

September 8th 2012


good job on the review! pos.

time to pump out my review.

September 8th 2012


Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks. =] I can't wait to read it!

September 8th 2012


Album Rating: 4.0

talk about a fucking excellent album.. i had never heard of these guys before, had one listen and it blew me away.

Can definatley see this album being in the top 15 of the year.

September 8th 2012


Album Rating: 4.0

You should give their back catalog a shot too man. The last two albums before this one were amazing (Friend Opportunity and Deerhoof Vs. Evil).

October 19th 2012


Album Rating: 4.0

I keep putting this on as it is quite interesting...maybe my rating will go up after a few more listens. But I dont think this is one I'll be listening to in a year from now. Some nice tracks though.

August 30th 2013


Album Rating: 5.0

Best psychedelic band for sure

December 15th 2013


Album Rating: 3.0

been meaning to check these guys out

February 26th 2014


japanese electronic crunch core

November 8th 2014


Album Rating: 3.5

this is really really weird

Digging: Dyscarnate - With All Their Might

November 16th 2014


Album Rating: 3.5

so good

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