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Friend Opportunity (Kill Rock Stars)


Much like the Flaming Lips, Deerhoof has grown from chaotic experimentalism to being a noisy pop band -- a move that doesn't imply sellout so much as the culmination of 10 years spent honing their chops. Compared to the expansive Runners Four disc, from 2005, Friend Opportunity sees Deerhoof consolidating its gains, producing a tighter yet equally sophisticated album: quirky and majestic melodicism with a dash of disorder. They continue to shed their more abrasive aspects; singer and bassist Satomi Matsuzaki's fragile, high-pitched vocals never crack or squeal, and the band displays similar assurance.

"The Perfect Me" explodes from the gate; drummer Greg Saunier's clippity-clop percussion winds every which way, like his back should read "just married," with dozens of empty cans trailing behind. On "+81," chamber-pop horns collide with a Chuck Berry riff and a jaunty Europop melody, pouring forth a sonic Yahtzee of sugary crunch. And finally, there's the slinky, cowbell-heavy proto-funk of "Believe E.S.P.," whose undercurrent of buzzing electronics and groovy samba swing suggests Stereolab performing "Girl From Ipanema" -- cranked on the stereo of a crashing car.

This Opportunity proves endearingly strange, persistently melodic, with more idiosyncratic nooks than the Beta Band on acid.

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