Friend Opportunity is not an album for the impatient.
As Deerhoof fans know very well, being a fan of Deerhoof means that you do not care if records follow typical verse-chorus-verse structures, nor if the singer even sings particularly well. The elements that fans find endearing about Deerhoof are exactly the elements that can make them so frustrating to try to appreciate—the wispy, little-girl vocals, the hyperactive little kid tendency to refuse to settle on a thought for more than ten seconds before running off in a completely different direction. Friend Opportunity, if anything, takes all of the elements they are famous for and condenses them, clocking in at a lean ten tracks and roughly 36 minutes.
And it’s easy for the novice to give up on it. At first listen, you might hear songs like “+81” (mp3), with its gleeful marching-band intro and buildup to a chorus of, of all things, “choo choo choo choo beep beep,” and throw up your hands and dismiss them as something that you are apparently not smart enough to understand. I came close to this reaction several times.
But at the same time, there was something about the record that demanded closer attention. Maybe it was the previously mentioned drum intro on “+81,” maybe it was “Cast Off Crown” (a rhythm-heavy track that veers perilously close to being an actual pop song), maybe it was “Matchbook Seeks Maniac,” which flat-out steals the guitar intro to “Joey” and then becomes the loveliest song on the record.
In the end, genuinely enjoying this record isn’t about waiting for the songs to settle down and just be a two-minute pop song already, nor about approaching it like some sort of intellectual exercise. It’s about hearing all the elements, how they build and recede, wax and wane. If they hadn’t included the last track, “Look Away,” a meandering eleven-minute drone that eventually succeeds in killing the happy buzz the rest of the record creates, Deerhoof may have made a nearly perfect record. And if you are a Deerhoof fan, you already knew that. As for the rest of you, this is the record that may just convert you. Or at least the first nine tracks may.
2007 Tour Dates
1/30 – San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall
2/01 – Seattle, WA @ Neumo’s Crystal Ball Reading Room
2/02 – Vancouver, BC @ Richards On Richards
2/03 – Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom
2/04 – Eugene, OR @ W.O.W. Hall
2/11 – Washington, DC @ Black Cat
2/12 – Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle
2/13 – Asheville NC @ Grey Eagle
2/14 – Charleston, SC @ Cumberland’s
2/15 – Columbia, SC @ Headliners
2/16 – Jacksonville, FL @ Jack Rabbits
2/17 – Miami, FL @ Poplife
2/18 – Tampa, FL @ Crowbar
2/19 – Orlando, FL @ The Social
2/20 – Gainesville, FL @ Common Grounds
2/21 – Athens, GA @ 40 Watt Club
2/22 – Nashville, TN @ Mercy Lounge
2/23 – Winston-Salem, NC @ The Warehouse
2/24 – Charlottesville, VA @ Sattellite Ballroom
2/25 – Baltimore, MD @ Ottobar
3/02 – San Diego, CA @ The Epicentre
3/03 – Tucson, AZ @ Club Congress
3/04 – Phoenix, AZ @ Rhythm Room
3/07 – Oklahoma City, OK @ Conservatory
3/08 – Dallas, TX @ Gypsy Tea Room
3/09 – Austin, TX @ Emo’s
3/10 – Houston, TX @ Numbers