Deus should have been HUGE. Three or four years before Radiohead achieved legendary status with OK Computer and came to define the (somewhat clunky) term Meta-Rock, Deus produced this, their debut album, which was already pointing the way forward. Post-punk, post-rock, post-grunge, art-rock, no one really knew what to call it, but it sure was good. The Belgian band had obviously absorbed the soft/loud Pixies thing; the viola drone of The Velvet Underground; the greasy gravelly personas of Tom Waits; the dark dramatics of Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds; the subverted grooves of Faith No More; the orchestrated chaos of Sonic Youth; the atmospherics of prog; the literate leanings of REM; and the stadium-size anthems of U2. Some of these trace elements could be found, but this was all done without being derivative at all. Their sound was completely original. Deus sounded like no one except Deus. Lead singer/songwriter Tom Barman wrote some evocative surrealist lyrics about death, drugs, life and loss that were well suited to the albums varied textures. And the other members displayed a restraint and maturity (especially for a debut) that still sounds fresh – never over-doing anything – guitarist Rudy Trouvé and bassist Stef Kamil Carlens always adding the perfect touches to the proceedings. The songs were so well crafted, seeming like a band that had been around for a long time and had developed into this inventive style after years of experimentation. Through songs like “Suds & Soda”, “Worse Case Scenario”, “Let’s Get Lost”, “Hotellounge” and “Great American Nude” we get to witness the sheer diversity of this band. It’s no wonder these songs are still fan favourites; it’s a testament to this masterful (yet sadly underrated) album…and band, of course.
~ DECOY SPOON