On one hand it’s hard to believe that Deerhoof have never released a studio album until now, but on the other hand, after almost 30 years of doing everything unlike anyone else, perhaps it makes sense.
Their 19th record is as wildly unpredictable as we have come to expect. Forgoing the language of “the world’s policeman”, Miracle-Level’s lyrics are mainly in Japanese, and although Deerhoof don’t want to “push the listener around”, they have produced something that sounds more like an optimistic coaxing.
The coaxing is towards a more comforting landscape, as on Sit Down, Let Me Tell You a Story, which sounds like a Bitte Orca-era Dirty Projectors collaboration, or on the playfully deranged My Lovely Cat!
Deerhoof have never been a band in search of a hook, but this album surprises with its sporadic bursts of delicacy, as on The Poignant Melody or the pared-back Wedding, March, Flower.
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Everybody, Marvel is a love letter to 1990s indie that could easily be addressed to themselves, as is And the Moon Laughs, with its furious drums and squall of guitars. The Little Maker is a nuanced trippy gem, and Momentary Art of Soul! meets a similar sensibility with its psych-folk-Krautrock focus. Phase-Out All Remaining Non-Miracles by 2028 sounds like a plan, as well as a grungy hope for better days ahead – so, spirit level raised, and miracle level reached.