Review Summary: With its many great individual moments Following Sea is a rewarding listen, but taken as a whole the record fails to live up to the back-catalogue of the acclaimed alternative rock outfit.
Less than a year after their last album, the acclaimed Keep You Close
, dEUS returns with a new release, titled Following Sea
, without even announcing they were writing new material. They just made the following statement: "This isn’t a clever marketing ploy or an attempt to grasp the zeitgeist but, more simply we are looking to get our music out whilst it is fresh."
Fair enough, but seeing how it's been made in such a short period of time - whereas other dEUS records were usually years in the making - and while they were on tour, this instantly raises the question if Following Sea
isn't rushed. The answer, unfortunately, is yes.
That isn't to say the album is bad, but Following Sea
rarely feels more than just a collection of decent tunes. Last years' Keep You Close
was a cohesive piece of work, with a great pace and revolving around a clear thematic concept. Furthermore, it was also a new direction musically for the band, which did pay off. Here on the other hand, we have an album that just feels standard, aside from a few gimmicks. The one that instantly grabs the attention is the fact that first single 'Quatre Main' is sung in French, when the other songs are in English. The lyrics themselves are great, and are complemented nicely by the brooding background music, but you can hear singer Tom Barman struggling with the delivery and although it's a cool experiment, the song doesn't go all too well with the rest of the tracks.
From there, the record dives into the more typical dEUS sound, with great atmospheric guitar work and Barman's mesmerizing smoker's voice, now in English. A lot of songs go back to the mid 70's, with the use of old school electric organs and funk-laden, danceable guitar riffs. The band stated that Following Sea
acts as a summer album of sorts, and it's clear to sea why on tracks like the groovy 'Girls Keep Drinking' or the more relaxed 'Crazy About You'. Even the song titles themselves remind of that particular musical period. 'Sirens' on the other hand unfolds more as a terrific B-side from Keep You Close
and it's in fact a shame it wasn't featured on that album. The interplay between the eery guitar licks and the piano balladry makes it a clear highlight. 'Fire Up The Google Beast Algorythm', on the other hand, is just as terrible as its title suggests. Luckily, the band picks up its game again with the album closer, 'One Thing About Waves', which delivers the expected grand finale effortlessly.
It's just too bad then, that when these songs are put together the end result is a bit all over the place. That's why Following Sea
comes off as rushed, not because of the quality of the individual pieces, but because it just doesn't feel as a fully fleshed out album, a feeling every other dEUS record managed to give off, whether it was good or bad received. It's a bit too early to really see how well this record will compare to their other albums, but for now it's a bit of a letdown, although at the end of the day it's still a great listen. If you're a fan of the band, you can pop an extra half point onto the rating and everyone else is advised to at least give it a thourough listen, but note that there are better dEUS albums out there.