fri 14/06/2024

Album: dEUS - How to Replace It | reviews, news & interviews

Album: dEUS - How to Replace It

Album: dEUS - How to Replace It

Belgian indie big shots enter phase three of their career with style

'It’s sophisticated yet it really delivers some gut punches'

Antwerp band dEUS – built around the core of Tom Barman and Klaas Janzoons – started out as a very interesting band. They fully leaned into the anything-goes sector of 90s music where the likes of Beck, Beastie Boys, Björk, Moloko and Super Furry Animals kicked away genre fences and got their weird on.

Later, they got a bit Big Indie, with big, sweeping, widescreen songs that put them closer to Doves and Elbow and guaranteed them nice festival slots. Significantly less interesting, but packed with accomplishment and emotional heft, and definitely deserving of ongoing success.

Now, though, over a decade since their last album, they’ve gone interesting again. And, fantastically, not by going backwards. Well, OK, a little bit: “Simple Pleasures” here is very much in the Beck/Beasties/Moloko trippy white funk mould, and it’s a lot of fun. But mostly this album takes their widescreen later identity onwards and outwards. Where dEUS’s middle period albums were fundamentally indie rock, they’ve now taken their emotional core and found way richer and shinier ways to express it.

Barman does a lot of spoken vocals on this record, and in doing so explicitly references Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits, Smog’s Bill Calahan and the Pet Shop Boys’s Neil Tennant. And the music brings in a lot of synthesisers, a lot of pianos, a lot of shiny production, recalling the grand scope of 80s bands like Aztec Camera and Prefab Sprout. The songs are abstracted, but constantly refer to time passing, great spaces traversed, loss and longing on both a personal and global scale, and they back that up with their writing and production. It’s sophisticated yet it really delivers some gut punches “right in the feels” as the obsolete slang goes, and a truly impressive maturation for a band more than 30 years into their existence.

@joemuggs

Listen to "1989"

This album takes their widescreen later identity onwards and outwards

rating

Editor Rating: 
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)

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