Mini-LP from angst-ridden Californians
The daffodils are up. Easter eggs are on the menu. Er, ‘Back To School’? Due to the vagaries of international record selling,
it’s only with GCSE revision looming that we get an official UK release of a key skills Deftones tune, from which the ‘Back To School’ mini-album takes its name. Released as a single in the US last September, now with some extra tracks,
it’s finally out over here. Oh, do keep up.
“Keep up” is just the sort of sentiment you might have heard hyperactive nu-metal head boy Chino Moreno express on last year’s lengthy Deftones world tour. Then there’s “oof”, “get
the fuck up!”, and “waaaaurgh!”,
all featured on the clutch of
live tracks which flesh out this mini-album. Alongside an alternative mix of ‘Change (In The House Of Flies)’, ‘BTS’ itself and a short film, released to coincide with the recent Deftones European field trip.
The tunes, meanwhile, are
still a mighty hybrid of guy-positive skate-rock and epically wallowing student music.
They’re The Cure with pitbulls instead of lovecats, the Bizkit
it’s OK to feel vulnerable to.
‘Back To School’, for one,
invites the skulking kids in black to a supercharged pep rally all their own. Meanwhile, former single ‘Change…’ learns some acoustic guitar and gains both in grace and horror. Live, there’s reminders of the Deftones’ rap-punk roots in the scrimmage of ‘Nosebleed’, plus the stunning ‘Feiticeira’, a thriller made complete by audience screams.
And then there’s the arty long video set in a toxic future dystopia where the air makes your skin peel off. It’s to the Deftones’ credit that their visuals most often come from the clever, stylish end of their aesthetic spectrum. There’s the white pony, the Japanese lettering, and now, this genuinely uneasy homage to [I]1984[/I] (with added rawhide sex scene) that starkly illustrates their musical intentions: foreboding, fearsome, and wracked all at the same time. Good work.