Deerhoof
Holdypaws



Release Date: 1999 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Deerpaws

Deerhoof are an oddball band. They get their freak on with innocuous melodies and sporadic noisiness. Their drummer beats unbelievable grooves out of the most bare-bones kit imaginable, their guitarmy is supercharged with grit and girth, and their vocalist’s gleeful zany shit is sometimes catchy and sometimes irritating and mostly both. They are cool. Holdypaws is their third album, and it is also cool. Some will say that it is actually their second album, but these people can be written off as liars depending on whether or not you believe that the band’s first outing Dirt Pirate Creed exists (it exists). More important than this very important second-or-third tossup is that Holdypaws is an underappreciated banger, underappreciated for (almost) three fatal reasons: 1) Even within the slim category of people who jam Deerhoof, a smallish minority of people seem to have bothered with it; 2) A worrying proportion of those people have listened to it wrongly (Jesus fucking Christ, Sputnik, what is that average?); and, [1+2]) The wrong people have been listening to it and the right ones have not. Which are you? Anyone dissatisfied by this proof of underappreciation is a scratchy Tumblr survivor who ventilates their apartment with AnCo and probably cooks bad enough chicken that they will one day finish themselves off. Next.

So why does Holdypaws bang? There’s not much tea to spill on it: it’s comfortably the most straightforward album of Deerhoof’s early run, and it wastes no time in laying down slammer after slammer. The band’s crypto-debut The Man, The King, The Girl was a blur of unbaked art punk skits, while their coming-of-age (half)hour Reveille chained together bafflingly disparate ideas with charm and sophistication; in some senses, these two are at opposite ends of one spectrum, but neither stay in any one place long enough to get a firm read going. While the 2001’s Halfbird isn’t far off, Holdypaws is the closest thing Deerhoof gave us to an undiluted showcase of the catchy noise-rock foundation for those neighbouring outings. It uses uncontroversial rock skeletons as a crash pad for weirdass melodies and inflections that you’d never hear from anyone else; the band stabilise their all-important capacity for endless[ly unlikely] noise-pop hooks and lay down some of their most robust rock output all at once. Sound like a win for them? No, you.

The most extreme example of what Holdypaws is about is probably “The Moose’s Daughter”, a sluggish pairing of an obnoxiously heavy beatdown with vocalist/bassist Satomi Matsuzaki’s most gleefully childlike performance on this album. Slippy, sloppy, hoofa, tippy, toppy, floppy, she trills like a possessed xylophone as guitarist Rob Fisk wallops more waves of dissonance than your dad’s beer belly entering a bathtub. Does the song go? You bet it does. Is it an acquired taste? Well, y’see, we’re talking about extreme examples here - so hold that thought! Un-extreme examples of why Holdypaws is loveable and approachable include the rip-roaring adventurebop “Queen of the Lake”, the dubiously baroque sway of “Lady People” and the off-kilter whiplash of the sweetly scathing “Crow”. Opener “Magic Star” is also way up there, doing the cosmos a great favour by slapping the album’s catchiest vocal hook straight on the doorstep. No pissing around, no warm-up act; in comes Satomi with a squeaky holler and all is immediately churning joy and jarring cheer. Love. The album also has a song called “Flower”, which is nice. This is not to be confused with the “Flower”s on Apple O’ and Breakup Song. Deerhoof have written multiple songs called flower in the same way that Melt-Banana have written multiple songs about dogs and the entirety of Archer S7 was centred around Veronica Deane; it’s a superficially random because-we-can move that somehow feels bizarrely significant to who they are as a band.

This sort-of brings us to Holdypaws’ one major blunder, which falls squarely in the because-we-can ballpark. Deerhoof would go on to master this as an art with minimasterpieces like Reveille’s utterly adorable “The Eyebright Bugler” (the most wholesome and succinct piece of music ever recorded, maybe), but this album’s primary addition to the school of gratuity is nigh-on monolithic. Enter “Data”, a seemingly neverending dearth of momentum that inverts the rest of the album’s snappy gratification into one 11-minute joke at the listener’s expense, sans punchline. As non-starters go, it’s pretty grave. The album has other obvious drawbacks, most notably the relatively strained tone of Satomi’s vocals, and a slight whiff of stylistic homogeneity that places too much weight on crunchy guitar arrangements and not enough on other things that are not - but could be! - also happening. These are all small fry compared to the enormity of “Data”’s aimless endurance test, but this is fortunately far from the end of the world; “Data” would have fallen upon weaker, squarer albums like the kiss of death, but Holdypaws is adequately fortified elsewhere with a solid fun quotient. Thrills and spills, as they say - I don’t know if anyone gets into a band like this expecting total consistency, and even then, this album is even enough to weather a strong dud. The dud in question is also the final track, so even if it doesn’t mark the start of the album’s problems, it does concretely bring an end to them. Deerhoof would go on to make more albums. They are good. Many of the qualities that make them good are pulled straight from Holdypaws. Listen to them. Thanks!




Recent reviews by this author
Pom Poko CheaterAshnikko Demidevil
The Gathering BlueprintsMyss Keta IL CIELO NON È UN LIMITE
Taylor Swift EvermoreSeiko Oomori Kintsugi
user ratings (31)
2.9
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
January 12th 2021


31729 Comments

Album Rating: 3.6

Fix that fucking average right now this minute.

Digging: Fushitsusha - Live I

DivergentThinking
January 12th 2021


6923 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

NICE

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
January 12th 2021


22950 Comments


A Deerhoof review!

Digging: Typhoon (USA-OR) - Sympathetic Magic

Demon of the Fall
January 12th 2021


18020 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Bookmarked for future use. I thought the previous album was actually kind of okay, borderline good (just inconsistent). And yeah I still haven’t heard this one, got distracted.

Digging: Mesa Verde - The Old Road

parksungjoon
January 12th 2021


25907 Comments


https://www.sputnikmusic.com/uservote.php?memberid=707831

epic ratings!!

Digging: Government - Shitshitshit [japanese death poem]

parksungjoon
January 12th 2021


25907 Comments


any staff of thee website in the chatroom

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
January 12th 2021


13130 Comments


_well

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
January 12th 2021


31729 Comments

Album Rating: 3.6

yes

parksungjoon
January 12th 2021


25907 Comments


call me crazy but there may be something up with an account that 5s anal cunt and 1s most of this band's discog (and anco for that matter lol)

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
January 12th 2021


31729 Comments

Album Rating: 3.6

oh yikes, a 2012 necro. looks authentic and has been dead so long there's no point picking bones ig, throw in the meds if you wanna get it burned but otherwise just another way the legacy of that era of sput's taste haunts us all

parksungjoon
January 12th 2021


25907 Comments


i get why someone would 1 anco even if i dont agree but this? lol

GhandhiLion
January 12th 2021


9916 Comments


Suicide American Supreme 5.0. Interesting

Digging: Pharoah Chromium - Electric Cremation

parksungjoon
January 12th 2021


25907 Comments



Neutral Milk Hotel In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
WOW!rI mean... WOW!! I wasn't expecting this album to be good at all to be honest, seeing how the music board on 4chan always talks about how "good" this album is. I was skeptical, but I've been proven wrong. For once, /mu/ has great taste.

parksungjoon
January 12th 2021


25907 Comments


now i wonder what must be going on in the mind of someone who loves one meme album but hates the other

GhandhiLion
January 12th 2021


9916 Comments


shut up about the tambourine

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
January 12th 2021


31729 Comments

Album Rating: 3.6

tbf Deerhoof and AnCo are both potentially megaannoying bands, AnCo for obvious hipster earwax reasons, but Deerhoof are probs snookered for a lot of people bc their most irritating qualities are also their most endearing. maybe. fuck 2012.

parksungjoon
January 12th 2021


25907 Comments


mostly meant in terms of popularity/exposure/etc

GhandhiLion
January 12th 2021


9916 Comments


I have no clue what that means. Also why do you feel the need to slag off that awful disaster movie.

parksungjoon
January 12th 2021


25907 Comments


anco more like マンコ

GhandhiLion
January 12th 2021


9916 Comments


top results are all porn. I ain't translating that



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2019 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy