The more idiosyncratic Deerhoof becomes, the more critics gush. The band's peculiar musical quirkiness breeds a genus of praise other artists can only envy. Lost in all this thesaurus-fueled bloviating is that Deerhoof can fucking play. John Dieterich spins intricate, sticky guitar webs that stir under vocalist Satomi Matsuzaki's candy-scented breath — that is, when he isn't putting Guitar Hero icons to shame with his cock-rock riffery. Meanwhile, Greg Saunier's abuse of his snare and crash cymbal wobbles knees like a Bay Area tremor.
On Offend Maggie, the group moves fUrther away from deconstructing pop; now it's skillfully putting it all back together again. "The Tears and Music of Love" and "Purple Past" walk the straight and narrow on the legs of Saunier and Dieterich's hot-shit proficiency. "Chandelier Searchlight" neatly piles spidery guitar parts atop a bouncing drum beat, while on the title track, Dietrich's nonpareil finger-plucking leaves you convinced you're listening to a harpsichord. Deerhoof has stretched the left-of-center concept so thoroughly that warped whimsy like "Buck and Judy" (which lyrically juggles creationism with exhibitionism) and "Basket Ball Get Your Groove Back" (highlight: Matsuzaki's toddler playfully repeating the word "pivot") no longer feel alien. Offend Maggie flirts with mainstream reconciliation after years of disconnection, but Deerhoof never compromises its artistry for accessibility. With skills like this, the band can come down to anyone's level.