dEUS
Keep You Close


5.0
classic

Review

by Olivier De Clercq CONTRIBUTOR (39 Reviews)
September 12th, 2011 | 62 replies | 14,621 views


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Proving themselves worthy of their band name once again

Keep You Close is not the best dEUS album ever. That title still goes to 1995's In A Bar, Under The Sea. But can you really compare the two albums? After all, since dEUS re-emerged to the scene in 2005 (whilst recording Pocket Revolution) after a hiatus of 6 years, they haven't been the same dEUS as on their critically acclaimed 90's albums. "Old dEUS" was a band of youngsters experimenting, trying to find a sound of their own, amidst all their peers and influences. "Old dEUS" was also a band that was constantly changing, swapping band members, experiencing internal turmoil. To an extent, that was partially the reason why their early stuff was (and still is) so great. The magnificent chaos in some of their old material was the result of this internal turmoil. But then "old dEUS" called it quits. And with the arrival of Pocket Revolution, we got "new dEUS".

"New dEUS" is a band of experienced musicians, and now - in 2011 - they still have the same band lineup as they 'started with' in 2005. So "new dEUS" hasn't got that same internal turmoil as "old dEUS"; gone is the chaos. The greater confidence in their musical and songwriting skills means that there is less experimenting with different styles and sounds present. Many have lamented this lack of experimentation on the newer albums, but the loss of this wild "let's see what we can come up with next"-attitude brings with it a growth in the consistency department. "New dEUS" has produced a couple of really coherent albums, with a clear overall theme or sound. Their latest, Keep You Close, is no exception.

The key word on their latest effort is atmosphere. The songs are in essence straightforward rock songs (prime example being "Dark Sets In"), but a lot of attention is given to musical structure and layering of sound, coming from all the different instruments. The guitar is given the most prominent place, but on this album the guitars - for the most part - produce musical accents instead of riffs, which - in combination with the steady bass and drums - gives off a very groovy feel. Additional horns, piano, the occasional synth, xylophone and violin provide the tracks momentum and give off an orchestral feeling - though at times buried under a big pile of noise. Take opener and title track "Keep You Close" for example: it's a different song than anything they've ever done, but still has that recognizable dEUS touch. It feels very mellow and introvert, but at the same time the rhythm section on the background drives the song forwards, until it really bursts open at the finale. The album couldn't start in a better fashion. Further down the tracklist, we encounter "The End Of Romance" - a highlight among highlights. Starting very minimalist, with the spoken word vocals of singer Tom Barman perfectly complementing the soft guitar licks, until he changes to his characteristic croon and the song blossoms into one of the finest pop songs dEUS have ever done.

Next to being the singer of the band, Barman is also the primary songwriter and he has yet again come up with some impressive lyrics to accompany the music. At age 40, he's reminiscent about time, how it flies by and how the modern day world population (and he himself) deals with it.

You know the now can never last
It's just a moment lost in time
Pressing pause is time defined
Just a moment lost on you
Pressing play is all that you can do
You're living a constant now again

(Constant Now)

Barman's delivery is calm and gentle this time around. He's almost just talking himself through the lyrics - with the exception of him exploding when the choruses kick in. Remember the key word? The vocals help to accentuate the relaxed feel of the songs, while also creating another layer in the song structures, thereby making the end result more dynamic as well, and a joy to listen to. On "Twice" and "Dark Sets In", he even gets help from Afghan Whigs singer Greg Dulli, who has agreed to provide guest vocals for the album. Especially on "Twice" - one of the fiercest songs on the record - the interchange between the two is rewarding.

As with all dEUS albums, Keep You Close has immediate appeal, but in essence it's a real grower album. Each consecutive listen will reward you with subtle details that keep popping up and engrain themselves in your brain. Personally, I'm at 36 listens and counting, which does say that - next to the fact that I'm obsessed - the reward is there to be found. Furthermore, the flow of this album is incredible; it's over before you know it. Keep you Close may not be the best dEUS album ever, but it's still certainly one of the finest albums to have come out this year and one of the finest albums in the band's entire career.




The album can be listened to here:
http://soundcloud.com/deusbe/sets/deus-keep-you-close

Official band page:
http://www.deus.be



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Comments:Add a Comment 
clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
September 12th 2011



6361 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Alternate summary: AOTY

And who should I bribe for this to get the 'Best New Music' tag?

Digging: Shackleton - Deliverance Series No. 1

dimsim3478
September 12th 2011



4735 Comments


Pos'd. Great job yet again, Clerq.

Digging: My Psychoanalyst - Choreomania

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
September 12th 2011



6361 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Thanks!

And please, please - check this out. Album is soooo good

DoubtGin
September 12th 2011



6748 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

not digging it

Tyrael
September 12th 2011



20738 Comments


Great review, this album is surely amazing. Here's to hoping this review gets featured!

Damn you dEUS for streaming the album so early, my review isn't ready yet :]

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
September 12th 2011



6361 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

DoubtGin, seriously reconsider listening to it again. It blows Pocket Revolution and Vantage Point away (altough I do love those two as well).

Damn Ty, I hoped to see both our reviews on the front page ;)

Should I ask to feature this? Because I think yours will be a better feature as you're a more experienced reviewer...

Tyrael
September 12th 2011



20738 Comments


Should I ask to feature this? Because I think yours will be a better feature as you're a more
experienced reviewer...

I won't be able to top this review, believe me ;] I'm not a good writer like, at all.
Album does need more attention...

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
September 12th 2011



6361 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Awright :p

Yeah it just needs that 'Best New Music' tag...
Let's just spam everyone's rec lists with this!

Tyrael
September 12th 2011



20738 Comments


Meh, I think a feature should take care of that

luschlotz
September 12th 2011



993 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Excelent review. Really tight writing skills. Definately going to check this out

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
September 12th 2011



6361 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Fair enough. Asked it on the forum =)

What are your favs on this, Ty?

Thanks, luschlotz!
The stream should be a help ;)

Tyrael
September 12th 2011



20738 Comments


Keep You Close, Constant Now and Easy

The piano/synth intro on 'Easy' keeps giving me chills no matter how many times I listen to it... Magnificent. 'Keep You Close' and 'Constant Now' have such magnificent choruses, I keep falling in love with them again and again :]

Eskate87
September 12th 2011



959 Comments


Have never heard of these guys even. Will check out.

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
September 12th 2011



6361 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

For me it's End of Romance, The Final Blast (that background choir!) and Second Nature. But I truly love everything on here.

Best album of the year imo.

Fixed ;)

Tyrael
September 12th 2011



20738 Comments


Yeah I think this will remain put in my top 3 of the year unless the new Mastodon or Rosetta blows me away like mad or I manage to encounter another amazing Ska album (not very likely)

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
September 12th 2011



6361 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

It's funny how this is a 5 and still only top 3. What's your AOTY then?

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
September 12th 2011



8318 Comments


For your information, Best New Music only features new albums that have high grades from multiple staff members (I think at least 3-4 staff members need to have it rated a 3.5 - 4 or above, or something like that). Contributors' ratings may count or may not count, I'm still not sure.

Good review btw.

Tyrael
September 12th 2011



20738 Comments


What's your AOTY then?

The King Blues - Punk & Poetry

Amazing Ska Punk :]

Oh dear we have to convince a few staffers to climb down from their ivory towers? :/

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
September 12th 2011



6361 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Always wondered how it worked, thanks for the info!

Will look up The King Blues then

Tyrael
September 12th 2011



20738 Comments


Awesome! I was kinda desperate for some good ska-influenced stuff this year, and then I suddenly found that and the new Bomb The Music Industry!. It almost made up for how weak 2011 has been so far in terms of metal :]



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