Friday , March 1 2024
With a flick of their Saturday Night Wrist the Deftones had me at "Hello."

Music Review: Deftones – Saturday Night Wrist

Saturday Night Wrist by the Deftones can officially lay claim to the title of "only CD that’s managed to leave me feeling bludgeoned and exhilarated in a long long time." In fact, each time I find myself listening to it, it’s as if my mind knows that it will get kicked around from the delicious punch of the music as it enters my eardrums, but I don’t care.

I may need intervention.

“Hole in the Earth,” offers the first sonic bombardment. Laced with a brutal bass and drum rhythm, the song then dives into a melody that accents lead singer Chino Moreno’s voice superbly. How a band can sound delicate and brutal at the same time is beyond me, but the end result of the Deftones’ studio magic is a track that very ably sets the table for the rest of what the band is about to audibly serve you, and is one of my favorite cuts on the CD.

“Rapture,” is a song that lies in wait for you to get finished with the opening track, only to spring upon you with fangs bared. Frantic, frenetic, and filled with an incredible mix of crooning and screaming from Chino, it leaves me dizzy and loving it.

“Beware,” throttles back the speed but not the intensity. Consisting of an ethereal groove and some lovely singing from Chino (despite my having no clue of what the lyrics mean, occasionally) this song is like a small break from the hurricane of the other tracks. The only problem is, this calm in the storm’s eye is laced with haunting shadows that serve to frighten you more than the storm ever could.

Evils we can see versus those imagined, I suppose.

“Cherry Waves,” opens up with a lovely drum beat, which is then joined by Chino’s voice, as it soars up above like a sonic vulture. When the band is ready, though, it goes in for the kill with what turns out to be an amazingly gorgeous song. Again, how can a band tread so heavily and then float ghost-like all at the same time? Amazing.

“Mein,” continues the mood set up by the previous song, but does so with a bit more desperation. Stripping the sound down the band achieves a nice galloping rhythm, and an even nicer song.

“U, U, D, D, L, R, L, R, A, B, Select, Start,” has the distinction of being tagged with a well-known and beloved cheat code for the old Nintendo gaming system. The name works, by the way, as the track is this wonderful and yet clunking musical landscape of sounds and emotions. Many of my memories of playing videogames, especially from when I was younger, are heightened remembrances of just that… sound and emotion. Also, as there are no vocals on this track, I’m sure it gave Chino a chance to give his voice a break!

“Xerces,” is another of the slow and menacing tracks. What it doesn’t accomplish with sheer sonic bombast, it achieves by setting this dark and dangerous mood. Thank goodness these guys have been allowed to play and grow and become the band that they are on this album, y’know? Maturity isn’t a bad thing, especially when songs like this are a result.

“Rats! Rats! Rats!” takes all of that built-up mood, though, and strips it away (along with any paint you may have on your wall) with the sheer violence of this track’s vocals and rhythm. It is so nice to have a band capable of such dynamics.

“Pink Cellphone,” features a lovely bit of guest vocals from Annie Hardy. The song rides on one of the more eclectic grooves on the record, but is basically the only track that leaves me a bit cold on the entire CD. It could be that I just need to give it time to infiltrate my brain and take over, but I can’t help thinking this sounds like the band is riding on automatic here.

“Combat,” offers up just that, as it combines this wonderful soft opening with a frenzied whallop of noise and speed once the vocals kick in. It’s as if the track is offering a battle between the hard and soft sides of the band, and we all win. Great song.

“Kimdracula,” swirls on some very nice guitar work, which is served amply by Chino’s vocals. Okay, I admit it; he’s won me over. Then again, he did that on their Around The Fur album.

“Riviere,” is a wonderful ending to this album. Managing to be both soothing and oddly disquieting, this slight song is usually the point where I gripe to myself and hit the repeat button on the entire album. It irks me to hear it, you see, as I know that there are no more tracks to follow.

That’s the sign of a good record — when you are upset that it is over because you want to hear more! Basically, I find myself with absolutely no hesitations about telling you that this is one of the better albums I’ve heard both this year and over the past few years.

And I unabashedly am waiting for their next album, already!

About Michael Jones

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