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Salient. Newspaper of the Victoria University Students' Association. Vol 42 No. 8. April 23 1979

Records Punk DEVolves

Records Punk DEVolves

Devo, Magazine, Ultravox! and XTC are the leading groups (Talking Heads are so brilliant they get a review all to themselves, next week), of the creative side of Punk and New Wave. Their debut albums "Q: Are we not men? A: We are Devo!", "Real Life", "HA—HA—HA" and "White Music", all show a distinctive original approach; nothing like them has ever been heard before (which makes them so hard to describe and categorize), they are as different from Rock as Pink Floyd and Kraftwerk are (both of these groups have unfortunately recently gone to seed somewhat). It is these groups who will assure the future of Punk, and Rock as a whole (i.e. save us from a sea of slime called Disco).

Devo (short for "the Devolutionary Band"; an American group from Akkron, who claim (not quite convincingly) to be "the only band playing Modern Music". Their Album (produced by Brian Eno (ex Roxy Music) which influenced its sound) is, I feel, the most important of the four because their music, electronically inclined with subtle rhythms (similar to John Lydon's (J. Rotten) latest group and Album "Public Image" in some ways e.g. disturbing lyrics.)

The title track "Jocko Homo" has a disjointed rhythmatic style and beat that is only paralleled by Reggae music. "Mongoloid" is brilliantly intense, like a Stranglers number and the 'version' of the "Satisfaction" song is positively delerious (and probably too funky for Mick Jagger's taste). Devo's image and message of social and environmental decay (Civilisation on the decline); the earth as an industrial waste dump, pollution, mutation, radiation and a general inevitable devolution back to the slime humanity crawled out of, is disturbing, hideous and (in some ways) horrifyingly real. Devo projects an image which is a simile for a science fiction story on life after a nuclear war.

Magazine and Ultravox! are closer in style and technique than any of the others, but nevertheless are original and unique "The Light pours out of me" (by [unclear: m] zine) and "Hiroshima Mon Amour" Ultravox!) for example; "The [unclear: Light] out of me" is a powerful emotional somehow giving an impression of [unclear: ev] haps it's the tone of Howard [unclear: Devqfl] Great tracks abound on Magazine's [unclear: H] Life" LP (eg "Definitive Gaze", [unclear: sho] both sides", Motorcade", "The [unclear: Lfl] pours out of me", and "Parade").

There is wit, style and talent on [unclear: the] bum not shown by other groups [unclear: sML] cerned with delivering a message [unclear: or] ting a powerful emotion reaction [unclear: from] audience (not an easy thing to do [unclear: in] ded music world today). The [unclear: UltnH] bum "HA-HA-HA" has [unclear: immedi] its brilliance that will impress [unclear: any] eluding bigots), only "Rockwrok" [unclear: is] sense mediocre; the rest being [unclear: clefl] triguing tracks with just as recogni [unclear: sed] smart lyrics; "Someone stood [unclear: besi] for a moment in the rain, a [unclear: sillhouj] cigarette and gesture of disdain. I [unclear: feel] dark door open and a sudden [unclear: gho] through, a spark leap from a finger [unclear: this] I knew it must be you, it's you; the who dies every day".

XTC's "White Music" is another [unclear: dis] bum, whose initiative is effervescent, dio's in Motion" is a typical Punk [unclear: n] but from then on in the sound gets [unclear: pre] restively whackier, and generally [unclear: mon] The vocals on "X wines" is [unclear: reminisi] early material of Split Enz vocalist [unclear: the] "Statue of Liberty" carries on the [unclear: F] vein of the music and first side is [unclear: wrap] up with a "version' of "All Along the [unclear: v] Tower" which Dylan would have a [unclear: have] time recognising; a crazy up-tempo [unclear: dis] jointed number (XTC have a real feel that funky sound) and Andy [unclear: Partrid] in some amazing vocal noises. On "[unclear: at] Age", Barry Andrews contributes ([unclear: either] on a "Steam Piano" or a "Clapped-[unclear: out] gan") indelibly. More funk on "I'm [unclear: ged]" (the best track on the album, [unclear: p] more good tracks.

This is only a superficial review of [unclear: a] the progressive sounds around at [unclear: the ment], and the music is so strange and [unclear: eas] hard to describe (that's why I didn't [unclear: go] depth) you've just gotta hear it. So, [unclear: dis] If you don't like disco get into some [unclear: of] It's guaranteed to fracture your [unclear: thou] terns (or is that patterned thoughts?

David Telford