Review Summary: Under the sea is where I'll be
Having been praised as one of Belgium's most hopeful rock acts to come, dEUS, the 6 piece (back then), beyond-alternative rock band, seemed to be heading straight for the stardom of the easy-going, cool and smart musicians of the nineties. Of course a powerful debut isn't always enough , but Worst Case Scenario
was extremely well received by the public and critics alike, and this alone has been proven enough to wholly transform musicians and artists generally, to the new, postmodern artistic figures which stand without definition between the borders of public display, successful management and subtle aesthetics. Well, at the ominous years of mid 90's, dEUS had nothing to do with that sort of ghost-term - on the other hand, they were the truly easy going, cool, smart and half-drunk guys with no stain of a thing such as stardom on their faces. Now, one can imagine In a Bar, Under the Sea
as the appropriate portrait of the lives of these everyday comfortable guys- lives full of adventures, drugs, affairs, desires and traces of wisdom veiled with the fog of urban folklore.
Such portrayals never scream for authenticity, but at least, In a Bar, Under the Sea
masterfully creates that illusion for the faces of its creators. It's an album that vents easiness and joy, a work that hardly displays feelings of vanity or disapproval. The overall euphoria is omnipresent here, but at times hidden or camouflaged, struggling to find some way out of the dissonant horns and guitar labyrinths. Surely the album can never be compared to a prog one, just as the band members could never be compared to a bunch of progsters, having the remnants of the dinosauric, heavy pretentiousness back from their gold times. dEUS were down to earth musicians, not afraid to include whatever their influences were to their albums. So there is some Zappa, Beefheart or Waits to be found here, as there is a reflection of the wave of the new sound that was formed in that period of turmoil. The album's diversity as well as its freshness is undeniable: from the raw, energetic bombs like "Memory of a Festival" to the catchy and super-quirk pieces like "Opening Night" or "Supermarketsong", In a Bar, Under the Sea
wonderfully displays its ability to feel comfortable with any instrumentation or mood. It's almost impossible not to love the smoothness of "Little Arithmetics" or the coolness of the Waitsian "Theme from Turnpike". And beyond these crazy and lovely pieces, stand moody anthems, just at the right place for emotional discharge. "Gimme the Heat" with its mournful, shy voice builds up to a bright epic, just at the center of the album, while "Disappointed in the Sun" has a similar effect with its playful piano melodies that climax to a soaring wet catharsis.
Despite of this humane character, In a Bar, Under the Sea
is deeply demanding if you want to truly appreciate it. The music itself will begin to unfold after the first few listens, but there are tons of interesting noises and well-hidden melodies that lie under its stormy surface. And that's another point where the album seeks for open minded listeners, together with its smart but sometimes abstract lyrics: concrete enough as to withstand the criticism of intentional diversity, dEUS' second LP carries a aura of ever-changing disposition, making it an album of moments, not for its inconsistency but for its chameleontic nature. In a Bar, Under the Sea
is suitable for partnership, almost every time and everywhere with different effects at a time: it can be a great weekend-at-the-sea buddy while it can also be a helpful, post-breakup friend. However, far from all these, In a Bar, Under the Sea
is nothing more than the place it states it is: a colorful saloon with windows looking at great coral reefs, colorful fish and huge blue whales.