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INAPPROPRIATEPLANK

Art, Life & Earth. THROUGH THE EYES OF A DEAF SNOWBOARDING MUSIC NUT.

8/10 BELGIAN ARTHOUSE WANK

It was early 1994. I’d only recently discovered the mindblowing PJ Harvey album, Rid Of Me and was slowly realising that my obsession with electronica, HipHop and Mo’ Wax of the previous few years was making me miss some genuinely creative new rock music. I was working for a subsidiary of the Polygram group, the guys at Island sent me this knowing I’d fallen in love with the hitherto androgynous & mysterious PJ Harvey. They thought I’d like it. I still do 17 years later. In fact, this is probably my most listened to LP of all time. We’ve been through a lot together. The sticker on the front had 2 reviews on it. One has stuck in my mind as one of my favourite, succinct reviews of all time:

“dEUS’ LP is pretentious arthouse wank. But, as a fan of art and wanking, I love it. 5*”

I’m always a sucker for experimental music, whatever the genre. So a Belgian avant garde rock outfit banging out dissonant violin & double bass lead, distorted, arthouse hardcore rock with a splash of jazz was right up my alley. This LP STILL stands up as a brilliant piece even now. But back in 94 it was insane. It opened my ears up to a whole new world of musical possibilities.

It was fresh. As much as I love Nevermind that was the pinnacle of a pop-hardcore movement, it was almost formulaic, especially once every band tried to be them. That’s not a dig. I love that LP. But the rock landscape was awash with clones of their sound. Bands like Pearl Jam did nothing for me. Bland, generic drivel. Hardcore noisy rock felt like it was going backwards. It was like Daydream Nation had never happened.

But along came dEUS. From fucking Belgium! It’s a curveball of an LP in so many ways. From the opening violin riffs of the brilliant Suds & Soda it grips in a way that The Pixies would be proud of. The following 50 minutes of deconstructed melodies is a must have LP (I say 50 minutes as the last 2 tracks have never existed to me, I deny their existence like I do that of The Phantom Menace and co, they feel like a couple of stabs at singles). This is a masterclass of exploring a form of music and stretching its boundaries. Slipping from in your face distorted power to subtle layers of despairing warmth and smooth melodies that come crashing down around you. The production, structure and ambition still impress me today.

I’m amazed at how few people I know have even heard of dEUS, let alone this LP. In Suds & Soda, Jigsaw You, Morticia’s Chair and the epic WCS (1st Draft) this is the band at their very best. I saw them play it in The Astoria around 96 and Camden’s Electric Ballroom c98,  still two of the best gigs I’ve ever been to.

Apparently there’s now a Deluxe Edition available. I didnt buy it. The original needs no improvement. In short, GO BUY IT!

 

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