Review Summary: Just tell me, where have you been?
dEUS have always had to carry a heavy burden on their shoulders throughout their career ever since they produced In A Bar, Under The Sea
and The Ideal Crash
, two genre-bending masterpieces of experimental rock. Even though they did not gain all that much attention from mainstream media, especially in big countries like America and the UK, it still provided them an opportunity to prove to the world that a small country like Belgium can still produce bands of world class quality. However, after the release of The Ideal Crash
, they seemed to be quite unsure about the future of their sound and started to develop themselves from a enthusiastic band of youngsters creating twisted, crazy experimental rock into a more mature band, relying on atmosphere rather than powerful rock instrumentation. For them, this was of course the ultimate test, because if they were really the talented young band everyone considered them to be, then they should have been able to shift genres without a serious loss in quality as a result. Sadly, their following efforts Pocket Revolution
and Vantage Point
, albeit being really good alternative rock albums, lacked a distinct kind of quality to set them apart from other, similar artists and made people, including me, wonder if switching genres really was a smart choicefor them after all. And now, we have dEUS' newest effort Keep You Close
It has been a long time since I've been able to call something wonderful, but this album really deserves it. Of course, wonderful is still a really vague term, but to be honest, there really isn't another word that can describe the kind of album dEUS have created. From the catchy guitar lines on 'Constant Now' to the subtle piano licks and the so-perfect-it's-almost-silly vocal harmonies on 'Second Nature' to the violins on the title track, everything just fits in so well that it's almost unreal how well it all comes together in the end. This has always been one of dEUS' stronger points. They've always had their own way to make songs sound like they were the result of a collaborative effort. This makes it so that the instruments, when viewed by themselves, may not sound all that impressive or skillful, but as a whole it just works so well that you'll gladly forgive them for this minor setback.
It is curious how much dEUS have evolved from day one. How they went from having a heavy reliance on playing technical proficiency and a heavy base of sound effects and samples to a more evolved, mature sound that almost fully relies on creating a dense, warm atmosphere. This actually fits in really well if you look at the title of this effort (Keep You Close), because it seems to be focused at creating a distinct feeling of comfort and warmth. This is fully augmented by the production of the album, which seems to be aimed at making everything sound as melodic as possible, but at the same time it also manages to soften up the sound. It is almost as if this album was meant to be heard on a lazy Sunday afternoon, where all you want to do is relax.
As said, after hearing Vantage Point
I was one of the non-believers that feared that dEUS would forever be stuck being a shadow of their former selves, but with Keep You Close
they have done the impossible, they have rekindled my faith that one day they might top In A Bar, Under The Sea
. I once feared dEUS' shift of genres was going to be their downfall, but now, after hearing dEUS' newest effort Keep You Close
, I'm sure they made the right choice.
It's been 12 years since we've heard dEUS play at the top of their game, but it was well worth the wait...
Recommended tracks: All of them! Oh fine:
- Keep You Close
- Constant Now
- The Final Blast