Deerhoof have been knocking around the peripheries of the alt scene for a long time now. Quietly releasing album after album of high quality indie experimentalism over the past fifteen years could, perhaps, begin to wring a band dry, but Deerhoof Vs. Evil , their eleventh album, has managed to retain the eclectic energy and pure excitement of a debut record, and for that this San Francisco four piece deserve our full attention.

With each track being leaked onto the internet one by one until release date on Jan 25th, most ardent fans will have heard the majority of the album already, and so will have already immersed themselves in the brilliance of Deerhoof's unique brand of schizophrenica. On one hand, feedback fuelled garage scratch guitars and Flaming Lips bonkers-ness and on the other, ethereal Sigur Ros blips and airy vocals, this record picks you up by the scruff of the neck and throws you into a world where anything goes. It is exhilarating and invigorating to listen to. Punchy, funky 'The Merry Barracks' marries rock drums, feedback loops and off kilter electro beat tracks in a wonderful, great big, musical mess that, against all odds, works. It is four songs in one and it's brilliant. The delight of the latin guitar intro of 'No One Asked To Dance' melting into what could be a title track to a French arthouse film from the sixties is a wonderful thing to behold, particularly when staring thoughtfully through a rainy window smoking a cigarillo.

One of the many highlights on the album is 'Super Duper Rescue Heads!' because not only does it have an awesome title, but it also seems to be tapping directly into the musical genius of Damon Albarn/Gorillaz but without the ego or pressure from a major label. The charming 'I Did Crimes For You' is the closest thing this record has to a commercial single, but just when you think you know where it's going, it trips you up and runs off in the opposite direction. Deerhoof may well be the Granddads of the alt indie scene, but what Deerhoof vs. Evil teaches us is that they may not be spring chickens, but they could teach the new kids in town a thing or two about retaining musical originality and brilliance over eleven albums and still deliver something astonishingly original and new (Yeasayer and Animal Collective, take note). Deerhoof, we salute you, and here's to the next eleven. Photobucket