We Sang, Therefore We Were
(Joyful Noise)
Add date: 4.30.2024
Release date: 4.26.2024

Apple Music
Joyful Noise Recordings

It’s already hard to describe what Deerhoof sounds like. So we’ll skip that part and say this sounds a lot like Deerhoof with a different singer. And in keeping with 30-year Hoofian tradition, melodies soar, big hit earwigs abound, harmonies are complex, and keys change frequently and unexpectedly. Arrangements are in a constant state of impatient agitation. Emotions run high but delivery is usually a falsetto deadpan. We Sang, Therefore We Were is grief delivered in code.

Greg plays everything save for a few birds who join in singing now and again. He keeps the instrumentarium severely limited, the sound shambling and anti-slick. It turns out Greg is a really good bass player and guitar player, if a bit more rudimentary and slicing compared to his Deerhoof bandmates. He does play more angry guitar solos.

But don’t expect another Chippendale/Saunier speed-drum freakout; the songwriting is gorgeous and sophisticated, and drums are almost an afterthought. Here, song is Queen. The singing is high and whispery, tending towards the three-part harmony. What we’re saying is: We Sang, Therefore We Were sounds a bit like Deerhoof fronted by The Andrews Sisters.

This is a peek inside the mind of one of indie rock’s most celebrated drummers, many of whose fans may not even realize the relentlessness of his musicianship and compositional prolificacy. Mozartian chords and sounds insinuate themselves here and there on this record, finally taking over in a big climax at the end, when the drums break off unexpectedly into a laugh-or-cry orchestral outpouring that ironically may be the rawest part of a very raw album.

“Satomi, Ed, John and I were chatting between shows in Austin in early December. They encouraged me to make a record on my own. With no one to please but myself, it came together way faster than usual. It was basically done by the holidays. I had been excited by the announcement that the new Rolling Stones record was going to sound ‘angry.’ I thought, ‘Yes, I’m angry too.’ But Hackney Diamonds turned out more like cotton candy than punk rock. So I went back to Nirvana. I always loved the catchy melody over massive distortion, the way their songs refused to conform to simple major or minor scales, the dark sarcasm which still resonates in this age of phony blue-check-washing of fascism.”

The album cover is all text, penned by Greg on the familiar topic of interspecies absurdist operatic anti-Cartesian revolution. The songs’ lyrics are all drawn from this epic poem. White House spokespersons are recast as The Queen of the Night from The Magic Flute, The Queen of the Night is recast as a mockingbird singing all night in a battle for survival, and ultimately the mockingbird is recast as a campy drag artist taking pleasure in her own aggressive, tireless music-making.