Russell Baillie

Russell Baillie is the Herald’s entertainment editor

Album Review: Devo Something for Everybody

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Rating: 4/5
Verdict: Old men in jumpsuits party like it's 1979

Devo album cover Something for Everybody. Photo / Supplied
Devo album cover Something for Everybody. Photo / Supplied

They ushered in American New Wave with a run of albums proving they were a rare band of the era, not just because of the funny hats and overalls. While most others seemed to have used their funnybones as down payments on their new fangled synthesisers, Ohio's Devo were both high-concept and satirically hilarious.

And they produced some of the best dancepop of the period.

The end of the 80s weren't as kind to them as the beginning, and the core of the band wound up as successful soundtrack composers. But 20 years after their unloved final album, they've donned those domes again and delivered a curiously enjoyable set, one celebrating that their theory of De-Evolution - in short, we're all getting stupider - has been borne out since they started preaching it in the late 70s

They make smart work of a set of songs that is unmistakably Devo, care of their trademark herky jerky hooks, megaphone vocals and synth-thumped rock. Sure, it has some strong echoes of past glories - Sumthin pumps to the beat of Whip It and opener Fresh has Freedom of Choice electro-pulsing in its wiring.

Worst track No Place Like Home briefly threatens a touching piano ballad only to turn into a Simple Minds tribute. Which might be ironic.

But it's an album of almost relentlessly quirky energy that sounds like the two-decade break has done them no harm. And should they turn up to play live, any announcements of "something from the new album" won't deserve the usual disinterest.

- NZ Herald

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