Some albums don’t offer themselves up that easily. Some of them are just completely unfathomable whereas some, such as this debut full length effort from Deville, are a bit harder to figure out and play their cards close to their chests.
On the face of it this is a great album. The songs are all brimming with catchy hooks and great arrangements that evoke as many memories from the alternative scene such as Soundgarden and the Foo Fighter as they do the stoner scene such as Kyuss and Unida. They seem to exist in that crossover world between the two that Queens of the Stone Age reign over. There is very little excess fat here in the song writing department…no riff outstays its welcome and no melody is thrown away lightly. The musicianship is also top notch with the vocals in particular capturing that smoky vibe that will get all the girls in the front row to lose their underwear quicker than blinking!!! On top of the great song writing and the musicianship, this album is topped off with a fantastic rich production job that’s heavier than a sumo convention and thicker than a whale sandwich.
With this album ticking so many of the right boxes, why then am I struggling with it? I’ve being sitting on this album for some months now listening to it repeatedly and hoping for it to flick that switch in my head. I’ve done my research on the band to see what makes them tick, read all the reviews that seem to regard this as the second coming in the stoner rock world but that certain something is still eluding me. I think that, as much as Deville appear to hit the targets they lack that all important sense of grit that all good rock and roll should possess and evoke. Everything here is a little earnest and polite. It’s almost the musical equivalent of a guy meeting his girlfriend’s parents for the first time…you know that he ain’t no angel but he’s putting on a good front and behaving impeccably. I’m not suggesting that all rock and roll should be about titties and beer but in this case a little attitude wouldn’t go amiss. Maybe these guys need to take a ride in a convertible down Route 66 with a couple of lap dancers and a few bottles of Jack to lighten themselves up a bit and get themselves a dose of that rock and roll spirit that this album so badly needs. The world already has Staind and their ilk pouring their hearts out to a million disaffected teenagers (or more likely lonely housewives); do we really need another one? When this album rocks it never quite rocks enough and lets its hair down, when it grinds out the heaviness it certainly loosens the old fillings but never fully hits the levels of bowel wrenching angst that makes you want to gouge your eyes out…it sits in the middle ground unsure of its place.
I don’t like to be negative about an album, particularly one as seemingly good and accomplished as this…and judging from the reviews I seem to be in a minority here anyway so give them a listen and judge for yourselves.
Scribed by: Ollie Stygall