Noise-punk legends, Deerhoof, have returned with a blistering new single, the typically wacky titled ‘Be Unbarred, O Ye Gates of Hell’.
Deerhoof explained the song’s inspiration: “Maya Angelou once said, ‘You can’t plant onions and expect to harvest tomatoes,’ and that kind of sums up our philosophy on this record. This song is a sort of cover of a Baroque opera aria by G F Handel (of Messiah fame). We wanted to pair our cartoon death metal version of that aria, about a jailbreaking angel kidnapping souls from Hell, with a video of dancing anticapitalist tomatoes.”
They certainly hit the nail on the head with their take on the slightly unhinged track. Not only does it feature a punishing take on Handel, with some wickedly distorted guitars, it also features one of Deerhoof’s best elements, shifting dynamics.
It manages to be melodic yet dissonant and contains as many flecks of early Deerhoof as it does other disparate groups such as Fugazi and The Flaming Lips. Catchy yet slightly punishing, this is classic Deerhoof.
Vocalist Satomi Matsuzaki gives us some surreal and semi-incomprehensible lyrics: “Heads keep reaching in for tomatoes, everybody knows the tomatoes do not go in the refrigerator”. Either way, this is Deerhoof, and they’re not for the boring.
They’re one of those rare groups who have managed to do exactly what they want artistically over their career with success, and have subsequently cultivated a fanbase that boasts the likes of Radiohead and St. Vincent.
The one thing we would say about the track is that it could definitely have been a little longer, but this is Deerhoof, so you’ve got to leave them to it. It’s not for everyone, but those who dig it, dig it fully.
The band have also been kind enough to bless us with a fantastic animated video for the track. Created by Geoff Hoskinson, the video brings the lyrics to life and portrays a world where “superfluous corporate overlords are unseated” via the rebellious tomatoes.
Tomorrow, October 21, the band will be hosting a Bandcamp Livestream where fans will have a chance to catch up with the band and discuss their upcoming album, Actually, You Can. The hotly anticipated album is released this Friday.
Check out the video for ‘Be Unbarred, O Ye Gates of Hell’ down below.