The Runners Four (Kill Rock Stars)

December 1, 2005

On their seventh and lengthiest album, Deerhoof creates arrangements that are original, yet have the vague familiarity of a deja vu that can’t quite be placed. The Runners Four is an album of experimental pop rock, utilizing elements of late 1960s English rock, acid jazz and traditional pop music—though it is anything but. Satomi Matsuzaki, who sings lead on most of the songs, has a creepy baby-doll-gone-Chucky high-pitched nasal, yet strangely soothing, voice. The musical punches on “Scream Team” elicit an adrenaline rush in even the calmest of the calm, leaving the listener gasping for air. Greg Saunier, who plays drums as well as sings lead on several of the album’s tracks, uses his sweet falsetto to bring songs such as “Odyssey” and “You Can See” to their peak. Matsuzaki’s voice and the sometimes undetectable rhythmic patterns make the album a taste that is acquired after a few rotations. However, the metallic, acid trip sounds of songs such as “Vivid Cheek Love Song” and the catchiness of “Twin Killers” will undoubtedly keep you coming back for more.

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