Sunday, November 04, 2007

418. Devo - Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! (1978)

Track Listing

1. Uncontrollable Urge
2. (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction
3. Praying Hands
4. Space Junk
5. Mongoloid
6. Jocko Homo
7. Too Much Paranoias
8. Gut Feeling/Slap Your Mammy
9. Come Back Jonee
10. Sloppy (I Saw My Baby Gettin')
11. Shrivel Up


Yesterday we had a taste of things to come with the new wave with The Cars, now we have something different, a taste of what could have been. Devo were a great band, and their style of new wave was probably the best thing to come out of the whole New Wave movement, the socially conscious, funny and surreal lyrics of Devo combined with a flair for experimentalism. We would all have been much richer if the mainstream had followed this template.

But they didn't, but we can all still listen to this whenever we feel like it. And we should. Again I need to give a nod to Brian Eno who produced this brilliant work. All tracks are masterworks and ever if the synth isn't being as used as it would be in their later albums, when it is used it is for great effect.

This, my friends is music, this is fun, fast, smart and damn entertaining... and also slightly offensive. Mongoloid anyone? But it is all part of the thing, of the whole conceptual existence of Devo, of a band which can take one of the most famous Stones song in Satisfaction and make it something completely of their own, it is not every band which can do that. But Devo can.

Track Highlights

1. Mongoloid
2. Jocko Homo
3. Satisfaction (I Can't Get No)
4. Shrivel-Up

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

The album was produced by Brian Eno, working in Conny Plank's studio in Cologne, Germany. Eno actually paid for the recordings himself, as the band had yet to conclude legal wranglings and sign contracts with Warner Brothers and Virgin Records. The band had come into contact with Eno when they managed to hand a demo tape to David Bowie when he played a show in Cleveland.

Bowie and Iggy Pop became fans of the band and Bowie went to see them perform at Max's Kansas City in New York City after Mark Mothersbaugh stated in an interview that he would like either him or Brian Eno to produce their first record. Bowie announced to the crowd during the interval that he would be producing them that winter in Tokyo. The next day Bowie told them that he would have to postpone producing the album until the following Spring due to filming commitments. That evening the band visited Brian Eno and Robert Fripp at the latter's home, where Eno expressed a wish to produce the band in Berlin, taking care of travel and accommodation for the band, who were without money to stay anywhere at the time.

Eno is on record as describing one of Devo's New York shows in 1979 as "the most exciting live performance I have ever seen". However, the studio sessions did not proceed on such a positive note, with the band seemingly intent on replicating specific effects and arrangements from their demo recordings stretching back to 1974. Eno found this an obstacle to his famously intuitive and spontaneous way of working in the studio, and described the band as "anal". In Eno's 1995 diary, A Year with Swollen Appendices, he states that he has never been paid by Virgin for producing the sessions.

Jocko Homo:

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