It’s really difficult to articulate my feelings on this album. I was still in diapers when DEVO was at their prime, and they had long since stopped being an influential force in music (or even good, for that matter) by the time I discovered them as a teenager. So, to say that I’ve been waiting a long time for this album would be disingenuous. I never, in my wildest fantasies, anticipated that this album would happen, and now that it’s here, I find myself with mixed feelings about it.
First, it is very much DEVO in their purest pop form. The sound is unmistakable early 80s era DEVO. And this may be where I’m slightly disappointed, since that era was never as appealing to me as earlier DEVO efforts. Inevitably this album will be compared to Freedom of Choice, which is absolutely a fair assessment, but it does have some small elements of Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are DEVO!. It’s those little touches of aggro, the abrasive use of ring mod and Bob Mothersbaugh’s brutal guitar work (whenever it’s audible) that elevate this album above the din of similar work. As a collection of songs, it’s uneven: the first four tracks are rock solid, followed by a handful of decent tracks and ending with two tracks that really should have ended up on the cutting room floor. But, I won’t begrudge them one or two bad tracks on their first studio album in 20 years.
Ultimately I hope that this is the first in a series of new albums from the Forefathers of De-Evolution – us spuds sure could use some guidance in these times. If nothing else, I hope it serves as a reminder to the guys in the Faint, that this is how synthpop is done.
And yes this score is favorably weighted because it’s fuckin’ DEVO.