This is what happens when people with music degrees are given record deals. Deerhoof is often championed as the little band that entertains the big bands. The coed Bay Area trio has supported the likes of Radiohead, Wilco, and the Roots on tour, and it’s notable when a group of musicians draws praise and support from musicians in distinctly higher tax brackets and totally different genres. The thing is, Deerhoof can’t manage any appeal for the everyday record buyer. The overwhelming vibe on Friend Opportunity is one of confusion and unfinished business. Like a Zappa record, only much, much worse. Most songs feature a passable melody or vocal hook, but few have any connective tissue. Instead, it sounds as if the individual instruments were recorded in total isolation, with no regard to what the rest of the instruments were doing. And that may very well be the point. Certainly there must be some meaning or purpose behind all this caterwauling; it just remains to be seen. To call Deerhoof art-kid crackpots or avant-gardists is to miss the point completely — these songs are disjointed for no reason, and jump from tangent to unrelated tangent with no apparent goal. Stilted and unrewarding, Friend Opportunity might as well be the sound of babies braying in a nursery, or trucks rumbling over a bridge. It’s merely a collection of sounds, and it’s not arranged in any form that resembles music in any way.
Ben Blackwell writes about music for Metro Times . Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.