Milkman is a weird record. Deerhoof are a weird band, but even within their catalogue of work Milkman stands out as being particularly odd. Primarily this is because of the concept behind the album is so very bizarre. The 'Milkman' is a strange character who comes down from the clouds to steal children. Not especially cheery, but very imaginative and starkly differing from the concepts of most albums. The album is strong enough without the obvious, overarching concept behind it, but it could be said that Deerhoof have managed to add something very special and different to their work. In addition to this, while the concept behind Milkman increases the oddness factor of Deerhoof in high multiples, it fits them perfectly. There's something very childish, and wondrous behind the album, and this is intensified and complimented by Satomi Matsuzaki's voice. Simply put, I don't think this album would work if played, and sung by anybody but her.

But in addition to this, Milkman just sounds weird. While it would be impossible to say it sounds like nothing else, it's difficult to pin down quite what you can compare it to musically. It's not genreless, existing very happily within the slightly experimental indie-rock niche, but more so than most albums it has a very definite and individual sound. It could also even be argued that Milkman stands out within the discography of Deerhoof. The rolling, insane drumming and staccato guitars are more pronounced here than elsewhere, it also more stripped down and instrumentally unadventurous, but this is to its credit.

Milkman, while remaining with the standard ensemble of indie rock instruments, and sonically not doing anything crazy with them (apart from in the downright awful 'Dog On The Sidewalk') have a ethos and overall sound that is refreshingly original. This feels like a bunch of formally 'weird kids' embracing their identity and producing exactly what they want to. There are no compromises to be found here, and there is no conformity.

Milkman is therefore pretty far from perfect. The aforementioned 'Dog On the Sidewalk' is an example of this. Any band messing around in the wide eyed exploratory way that Deerhoof did with Milkman is never going to create a fully realised, mature work. Milkman is occasionally jarring, and will occasionally make the listener frown with confusion. The album is not something you could listen to track by track, but all together it starts to make sense.

It's been a while since the release of Milkman, and Deerhoof have graced us with other excellent pieces of work. While they all exhibit many of the things that make Milkman quite so special, the album is the perfect manifestation of what makes Deerhoof such a wonderful band. It's individual, melodic yet jarring, unbelievably sweet and cute, energetic and fantastically weird. It's a record made with a can-do, exploratory attitude and it's wonderful for it.

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