It's been six long years since dEUS' last album, "The Ideal Crash" came out, and many thought the Belgian avant-indie rockers were gone for good. But after years of side-projects and member overhaul, Tom Barman and company are back.
You think after all those years of absence, the band must've changed their sound. To a certain extent, that's the case. The band has become more accessible and conventional....but still in that wacky dEUS way. Which is to say, this is still a dEUS album, and it sounds as if the band is still the same band as 6 years ago. They haven't lost a beat.
There is the still quirky weird sounds that set dEUS apart from the average indie rock outfit. Tom Barmans (can you think of anyone that's cooler in the Benelux?) typical raw lyrical approach. Klaas Janzoons the rocking violinst. They are still one of the most fun bands to listen to this side of Europe. They just have a vibe that no other band seems to capture.
You won't find ridiculous fillers like "Great American Nude" on "Worst Case Scenario". The songs have simplified more than on past albums, but are still adventurous and cool. Lemme be specific now.
"Bad Timing" starts with some lofi distorted guitarscapes that are complemented perfectly by the incoming bassline. Then the drums come in which are are also produced lo-fi-ish It's so cool. You have to hear it for yourself. Toms vocals along with his acoustic guitar roam in the forground. It's like a ballad playing in the foreground, with a hardrocking track plays in the background, yet both take shape as one cohesive song. And then it DOES become a hardrocker. Wow! What an opener. Never do I have the feeling it's longer than 5 minutes, while it's actually a moderate 7 minutes long.
The first single is "7 Days, 7 Weeks". It's a song that grows better the more you hear it. Toms vocals sound so nice and soothing, and the bassline is perfect in it's simplicity. I love the tranquil chorus, that still has that 'cool' dEUS-ey vibe despite it's light hearted mood. Beautiful song. It works...every note belongs to one another. TSK!
Now this is where the listening experience becomes fun fun fun FUN FUN FUN! "Stop-Start Nature" is such a fun whacky song to listen to. Trust me on this. This song is typical dEUS quirkyness. It's very abstract and trippy, with strange guitar effects, distorted keyboards and and a pulsing bassline. Then it explodes into a short hardrocking part that's not far off from QOTSA. It effortless goes back into the weird abstract part with the theatrical vocals. You got to hear it to believe it! This track is just full of...stuff, and it rocks hard somehow. At one points the lyrics and music is interrupted briefly by and urgent "STOP!" then Tom has this weird monologue, and some strange, addicting backing vox.
"If You Don't Get What You Want" is a perfect followup. This is just rock and roll, with that special dEUS sauce added of course. Next up is "What We Talk About (When We Talk About Love)...this song is more dance influenced. The chorus is Tom singing the song title emulating Barry White or something. Despite it's bizarre electronic soundscapes, it's suprisingly catchy. Very...interesting...and FUN! This is a different kind of dEUS song, but it's nice. I'm not really sure if it fits on the album, but it's fun to listen to. "Include Me Out" starts with an old recording, with some kid saying 'hello from the children of planet earth' the song fades gradually in. It's nice mellow song, a little more conventional...very suble use of instrumentation. I like the xylophone(?) melody, it fits well. This bands has always been good in blending various melodies to make it one good whole. Near the end the old recording fades back in briefly.
The title track "Pocket Revolution" starts with a deep fuzzy bassline and an electric piano, with Tom singing soft timid half whispering. The song has a feeling of unease at first as if something is going to burst. I like how Klaas' violin playing is a bit more lo-fi to serve as a bit of an interlude for the almost gospel-rock-anthem like chorus...or whatever. I'm not sure wether the strange introvert verses fit with that Mark Bolan-like chorus, but it sure is interesting, I tell you that. That's what you get with dEUS...like it or hate it, the band always makes things interesting. I like the last minute and a half, when the guitars become more polished.
"Nightshopping" is coolness. A cool fuzzy guitar effect, I love that little percussion touch, almost just as slick as Curtis Mayfields "Pusherman". This songs rocks out without rocking out 'conventionally" with heavy guitars. I just love this track. Very cleverly arranged without being overly sophisticated. Addicting as hell!!! I love the title "Cold Sun Of Circumstance" and the song is equally interesting. This is almost the dEUS-take on rockabilly rock...kinda. The vocals are hard to heard in beginning of the almost faded in the background. But I love the guitar work. Tom sounds pretty pissed when he sings, without raising his voice overly aggressive. In the chorus, "Oohs" and "Aahs" complement Toms delivery. The best part is when the song effortlessly switches into this mellow part that sounds like a Mexican lounge song...wowza! Nice twist there.
"The Real Sugar" continues the lounge way, as Tom sings "Tonights I need somethin' strong baby". I love the loungy bossanova guitar patterns and Klaas' violins add a perfect touch. It's an amazing song, proving that dEUS can effortlessly write beautiful heartfelt songs as well. "Sun Ra", baby. A strange intro, with a dialogue repeated over and over. The intro builds up very nicely to a heavy melodic mess. This is one of the more epic songs dEUS has written. Tom once again has monologue-like lyrical approach in the verses, sounding very cynical. It's a good song, but not as mindblowing as "Instant Street" for instance (which is on "The Ideal Crash"). It sounds like a very ambitious song, but it's one of the weaker ones on the album in my opinion.
The last song on the album is called "Nothing Really Ends"...nice. Another very lounge influenced track. I love how Toms sings, almost in a retro-story telling way, as if it is the soundtrack of some European love drama. It has very much that vibe. The lyrics are among Toms best. I love the nice female backing vocals. It's a beautiful song, and a great closer to the album.
7 Days, 7 Weeks
Cold Sun Of Circumstance
The Real Sugar
Nothing Really Ends
Every song sounds different, a nice mixture of rocking and mellower songs
Interesting sounds and combination of melodies
Tom Barmans vocal and lyrical delivery is an acquired taste
This is by far dEUS' most mature and consistent effort, although the highlights may or may not be as high as the best songs on "Worst Case Scenario", "In A Bar Under The Sea" or "The Ideal Crash". You can think of this album as a mixture between what you can hear on their previous three releases, so it's a good measuring stick to find out what dEUS are about. Personally, I think more people should give them a chance. They are one of the most interesting alternative rock bands around. And this album is one of the best of 2005.