"Something For Everybody" (Album, 2010) !DSO Recommended!
Warner Bros. Records
Containing their ‘first new material in 20 years’ is a headline that would be hard for anyone to live up to. I never really tuned into Devo, though many friends thought I’d be well disposed both to their proposition and style of delivery. As a Devo layman then (Devo-tees may now wish to avert their eyes), I can honestly say in parts this is great fun, marginally thought-provoking, only faintly disruptive (it is on Warner Bros. Records after all!) and hugely entertaining. If it does turn out to be the final entry into their discography, as their press seems to suggest, they’ll be able to hold their greying heads high knowing that they’ve at the very least delivered a genuinely solid entry into the devolution canon.
The band members having taken time out to pursue various artistic endeavours, founder member Jerry Casale felt the urge to (as The Blues Brothers would say) get the band back together. Which is a brave thing to do after a 20 year shutdown. A cause of delight no doubt for fans, but for the well-disposed rest of us it also demonstrates why they have such a dedicated cult following. What’s for sure is the gospel according to Devo is one worth opening your ears to whatever your theological bent.
Hidden behind some fantastic, glossily erotic artwork (just an airbrushed-to-perfection photograph of a brunette consuming a Devo energy dome and no typography at all), is a tightly-produced yet wilfully playful collection of surfing-electro-rock tunes. Something For Everybody is driven by a remarkable energy and delivered with a gusto that would be impressive in a band of teenagers let alone a bunch of guys in their sixties. True to form, wth none of the twelve tracks ever reaching four minutes in duration, you never have to wait long before another one comes along; which for me is an asset. The tracks that allow the keyboards and programming to take the lead, rather than the unmistakably (and somewhat restricting) American rock guitar riffs, contain without exception the more inventive writing. It’s lyrically witty too, striking the right balance between clever and bonzo.
I’d still love to see these gents in concert. Never have; was flying back from holiday last time they played in London. It may now be too late to rectify that. Which won’t break my heart but I would like to be able to say I’ve heard the sublime What We Do performed live. Whilst the anthem March On is a fitting conclusion to the album (and perhaps their recording career). 8/10
Rob Dyer (July 2010)