Still Devastating

Friday, 7 September 2007, 16:18 | Category : Uncategorized
Tags :

I’ve had quite a few pleasant surprises lately listening to albums I wasn’t expecting much from, but no more so than this one. Back in April I saw Devastations play on a quiet Sunday night at The Spitz and was distinctly underwhelmed. I was expecting a hearty dose of the grand melancholic sweep of their second album Coal, but instead I witnessed and tense and cold set of unfamiliar songs, which I found very hard to like. So very low expectations for new album Yes, U then.

But again a pleasant surprise. Not because the album isn’t different. It is – that much is clear from the electronic beats that open the lead track Black Ice. The strings are absent, as are guitars on a lot of the songs, replaced by keyboards, synths and programmed beats. There’s also a gloominess to the album, which isn’t quite the same thing as melancholy. But there’s something about Yes, U which is admirable and even enjoyable.

It’s probably because the band’s touch for lovely melodies is still very much there, and they’re still plentifully evident on this record, even if at first they seem less accessible. Devastations can certainly create an atmoshphere, and a lot of the new songs are densely textured affairs which you might have to be in the right mood for, but if you are, boy they’re good! Rosa, with its sparse then incessant drumming, Sonic Youth-style guitar workouts and simple melodic line is a particular highlight and the synth and beats-driven As Sparks Fly Upwards and An Avalanche of Stars are a bit special too.

The Devastations of old isn’t that far away though, and it’s hard not to appreciate the likes of The Face of Love, where the band employ piano and sha-la-las to great effect, and the aching ballad The Saddest Sound. It’s a well rounded, substantial album that doesn’t even take a long time to get into. It’s much more accessible than you might think, even if, like me, it’s not what you were expecting.

Download: Devastations – Rosa
Download: Devastations – The Face of Love

Pre-order Yes, U (out September 17).

Leave a comment