Say what you will about Deerhoof, but they know how to write a beautiful song. And ''Offend Maggie'' is all the more beautiful for the fact that it seems to come out of nowhere. For all its sparkling musicanship, it sounds casually tossed off like it was nothing at all. It's a new sound for the band as much as it's a new sound for pop music.
While John Dieterich's acoustic guitar seems to channel Malian guitarist Ali Farka Toure, Ed Rodriguez's electric conjures classic Townsend. Singer/bassist Satomi Matsuzaki (with drummer Greg Saunier on harmony vocal) tells a plaintive story in which telemarketing calls are a metaphor for unrequited love. The bittersweet magic of this short song promises a major thrill ride when its 14-track namesake is released next month.
For those who have been following their remarkable career, ''Offend Maggie'' represents another Deerhoofian high-water mark, even as it shows another abrupt shift in direction. With these master gamesters, you can never guess their next move, but once they've made it, it somehow seems inevitable. One listen and you'll know ''Offend Maggie'' could only be Deerhoof. Two listens and you'll be in love.
"Sonic Youth for the 'Guitar Hero' generation" --Variety
Deerhoof's songs make plenty of sense in their own fractured way, at least for those willing to follow the band's logic (or take a lucky guess at it). One catchy and mystifying bit crashes into another, and everyone goes home a little crazier and a little happier. Then again, that discounts the purposeful tightness of the band's adventures. It's a lot easier to credit them for that after hearing Offend Maggie. Satomi Matsuzaki's vocals push into the lead more than ever before, helping each phase of a song muscle over into the next. The album-opening ''The Tears And Music Of Love'' has the feeling of a band charging forward in unison despite its love of playful tangents. Not that they've left those behind: A flickering acoustic guitar figure at first seems like the most whimsical part of ''Offend Maggie,'' but holds the song together as the band thickens up the noise atop breezy hooks. On ''Buck And Judy,'' the tuneful passages and deconstructed instrumental bits don't just coexist they bleed into each other, giving the song time to build up a conflicted swirl of moods. In fact, nearly all the songs on Offend Maggie find different ways to achieve a surprisingly full, evocative union of Deerhoof's pop sense and experimental whims, whether they're tossing and turning in gleeful anticipation (''Snoopy Waves'') or in anxiety (''My Purple Past''). --The Onion A.V. Club
Deerhoof has always been a band that simultaneously simplifies and complicates. On the one hand, they use a simple language of melody, noise and beat with the basic rock instrumentation drums, guitar and voice. On the other hand, they combine these building blocks into crazy and disorienting constructions of sound. Offend Maggie finds them in a slightly expanded sonic territory compared with their past albums, but it seems that inside of this expansion, Deerhoof s sophisticated innocence has mellowed somewhat. Just somewhat...
Offend Maggie's mellowness is not a lessening of Deerhoof s strangeness. In fact, the emotional intensity of these songs may be even more pronounced than in songs from the past. But the noises here avoid aggression: There are challenging disharmonies, but the overall feeling is one of peace. This is the sunny side of surreal. --Prefix Magazine