dEUS - Following Sea Album Review
Devoid of marketing, and manifestly, hype, dEUS's new album Following Sea arrives only a year after their previous release Keep You Close. "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" say the band, although some will wonder if enough love and time was invested into this album, especially considering the bands live exploits between releases.
It would usually take the charisma afforded to Serge Gainsbourg to open an album by effortlessly blurting out lyrics in French over a rough guitar track infused with a pulsing theremin and rising strings, but the Belgian outfit pull it off. In fact it's rather good. Quatre Maines announces Following Sea with purpose and style, but what follows quickly descends into mediocrity.
Between posing gruff, poetic rhetorics and pondering some of life's great questions, dEUS have composed a concoction of their renown art-rock style with a cyberpunk twist and some tropes akin to erstwhile rockers, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, which isn't a particularly good thing. At times this album sounds like the score for a dodgy remake of Blade Runner. At other times it sounds like a wailing soundtrack to a straight-to-DVD American Road movie made by mature students that couldn't afford to get Alabama 3.
All is not lost, though. Some of the nicer moments lurk between the more experimental sections; the pleasant Crazy about you is a folky departure. It's simple, and better for it. Some of the subject matter, whilst primarily dark and melancholic, is intriguing: Hidden Wounds takes the perspective of a solider suffering post traumatic stress syndrome, a theme influenced by an article in U.K newspaper, The Guardian. But whilst a few songs draw on original concepts, their execution is numb, damp and inconsistent.
The feeling that each song is been shoved into this album, discarded and deemed unfit for previous releases in inescapable. This is possibly due to its unprecedentedly hurried release, but either way, Following Sea feels more like a collection of bonus tracks than a full and lovingly released piece. Watch me leap to the band's defence, now, because they do in fact admit this.
A hurried album is a real departure from their normal etiquette, and whilst dEUS harbor a large following in their native Belgium, they haven't permeated the zeitgeist elsewhere. Following Sea won't be the album that breaks that pattern. Apart from a few tracks that may make your playlist, the album as a whole is one of the more forgettable releases by an otherwise consistent outfit.
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