Sunday 5 August 2012

dEUS - Following Sea

Album review by KevW

From a personal point of view I was interested to hear the latest album from Belgian alt-rock veterans dEUS. Having been a fan of their first incarnation in the 90's, and remembering them from great tracks like 'Little Arithmethics', 'Hotel Lounge', 'Roses' and other influential singles, their output since their 2004 reformation, barring one song, had so far passed me by. Only two members remain from the original line-up, and as expected the photos show them looking a little more grizzled than I remember. So were they retreading old ground or reinventing themselves to stay relevant? What 'Following Sea' does show is that whatever 'it' is, dEUS still have it. Only now they're using it a little differently.

This new album sounds more serious, it sounds potent, inventive even, but it doesn't sound like the dEUS of old. 'Sirens' rings a distant bell of their former existence, only now they sound darker. It's a highlight on an album that will divide opinion, despite being a strong set of songs and an entirely filler-free one. 'Hidden Wounds' shows they still have an inventive streak and have lost no edge. But the spoken word delivery sounds like someone reading from a thriller novel (and it's difficult not to compare it to the theme to The A Team) and is likely to split the views of their fans. Unfortunately other parts of the album, such as 'Girls Keep Drinking' and 'The Give Up Gene' are getting way too close to the despicable rock/funk/rap abominations that The Red Hot Chili Peppers spew out, albeit not quite as bad as them.

'Nothings' and 'The Soft Fall' are other glimpses of past glories, but such moments are overshadowed by songs like 'Fire Up The Google Beast Algorithm' which feels slightly industrial and the quick-fire, half rapped vocals get lost in the melee. 'Following Sea' is an accomplished album and it's most definitely not a bunch of guys resting on their laurels, yet it seems that their quest to innovate and reinvent might isolate some of their old fanbase. These songs have the capacity to reach out to a different generation and a different type of music fan, although whether they get the coverage to do so remains to be seen. This is by no means a bad album, but from a personal point of view, I think I preferred the dEUS of old.

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