Deftones is back

By By Jesse Peterson

By Jesse Peterson

DeftonesSaturday Night WristWarner Bros./Maverick Recording Co.Three-and-a-half out of five stars

With the release of Deftones’ self-titled album, fans and critics alike were disturbed–wondering whether this was the end or the potential beginning of a long, drawn-out suckfest (kind of like the entire career of Paul McCartney’s band, Wings). Well, Deftones is back, and it’s not quite what the public expected.

Deftones kicks off Saturday Night Wrist with the single “Hole in the Earth,” which starts out with a lot of energy, but then diverts into an average ballad that dampens expectations a bit. However, most of Deftones’ newest work doesn’t disappoint. Instead, it furthers the sonically defiant direction Deftones prefers to take.

Saturday Night Wrist offers plenty of slow, aggressive tracks from a lot of different angles, yet still maintains a cohesive sense. Each instrument stands out in specific places throughout the album, whether it’s chugging guitar, excellent drum-work or the rising and falling vocals of Chino Moreno.

Beautiful tracks include: “Beware,” for its ominously haunting mood; “Rats!Rats!Rats!” for reminding the public that Deftones can still be heavy enough to knock our socks off and “U, U, D, D, L, R, L, R, A, B, Select, Start” for its expert instrumentation. That last track has no vocals, probably because the band didn’t have anything else to do when singer Moreno split out on the recording process a couple times to work with his other band, Team Sleep. Interestingly enough, besides the title being the code for Contra, I swear the track’s name also the strumming pattern Stephen Carpenter uses on his guitar.

On the downside, potential listeners might argue that Saturday Night Wrist is a little too slow–it’s borderline stoner rock–and not up-to-par with some of the earlier Deftones albums. Plus, many argue that electronica-based track “Pink Cellphone” bites the big one (unless, of course, you’re British–bad teeth and all), not because of its straightforward assault on Christianity (and I’d venture to say all religion), but because of the vocal meanderings of guest vocalist Annie Hardy as she graphically explains the sexual practices of the Brits.

Well, whether that sort of thing is Deftones’ cup o’ tea (sorry, I had to) or not, the rest definitely makes up for any of the other failings on Saturday Night Wrist.

The bottom line is that, although Deftones’ future might still be unpredictable, if worst comes to worst, at least the band will have gone out with some style.