There's a problem with weird: it's got a limited shelf life. dEUS are from Belgium, a country that has separate charts for its Dutch and French speaking populations and a brief, unflattering history at rock's high table. With their home renowned mainly for bureaucracy, techno and mayonnaise on chips, that the band were the first from there to ever sign to a major label in 1994 provides a brutal reminder of its cultural desolation to that point.
A listen to 'Suds & Soda' from their début album 'Worst Case Scenario' also puts "Weird" into stark relief. Opening with a screeching, looped fiddle and big statement riff, voices then start barking at each other in a near relentless cacophony, framed by distortion and a jazzy organ break so incongruous it feels almost voyeuristic. Alt. folk in extremis even in the most digestible moments, it was a song that felt like a deliberate act of audience provocation. Then and now, weird seemed like the right handle for it.
The problem with approaching music like this is that 1) Those fellas in suits and ties at the aforementioned major label really, really like it when you try and communicate with people, therefore selling records and making them money and 2) Not many DJs will play your stuff. The good news is that even with a revolving door line-up over the subsequent two decades, the dEUS collective appear to have realised early on that having truly punk influences (Captain Beefheart, Tom Waits) shouldn't always mean thumbing your nose at convention. That's punk, of course, in its broadest, most unstructured, liberal sense; values which you assume surviving original members Tom Barman and Klaus Janzoons appreciate whilst they've been steering a course between music as free expression and equally fit for consumption by the paying public.
Continue reading: Deus - Selected Songs 1994-2014 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.
Continue reading: dEUS, Following Sea Album Review