CD Reviews: Review of Pocket Revolution by dEUS

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Pocket Revolution
starstarstarhalf starno star Label: V2
Released: 2006
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Hey, hey, dEUS is back after a five-year hiatus. This is big news for the fans. To a newcomer it couldn’t mean anything, but Pocket Revolution is as fine a place to start as anywhere. In the ‘90s though, these guys made a couple big splash albums like Worst Case Scenario and In a Bar, Under the Sea. This is when a Belgian group could invade the States with its alternative groove and people would notice. Now, perhaps not so much, since the whole business seems hell bent on eating itself up, but the good news is that Pocket Revolution is an insistently groovy album that could easily wind up on year end best-of lists thanks to its terrific songs and accessibility.

Not that it’s obvious from the first cut, “Bad Timing.” In fact, it took getting past that tune with its slow build and My Bloody Valentine/Spiritualized mimicry to get to the good stuff. When that moment arrives, on the single “7 Days, 7 Weeks” the melodic addiction takes over. It sounds like some song lost from some vague summer years ago with its gentle rhythm, lush acoustic guitars and whirring electric flourishes mixed with what sounds like flutes. It’s one of those tunes you hear that sounds transcendent, familiarly comforting, and something your ears know they’ll need another dose of soon.

But then the band changes gears and hits the garage buzz of “Stop-Start Nature,” which feels like it’s grooving on a pocket of air. The music bursts out now and then in loud blasts of energy, but then gets locked back into an organic-mechanical hypnotic insistence that buries its hooks right into the good old cerebellum. This formula almost repeats itself on “If You Don’t Get What You Want,” save for the ending, which completely breaks free of the lockdown and goes mad in its rocked-out epiphany of a curtain call.

There are moments when the dEUS seems to channel the Velvet Underground’s third album (“Include Me Out”), and then turns around and squirts out a Primal Scream (“Nightshopping”). It’s this mix-and-match style that keeps Pocket Revolution a consistently interesting listen. But the best thing about the band is that it doesn’t just mimic these other groups. You can hear the influences, but you can also hear something new going on all through the mix, and that is always a sign of a band that knows what it’s doing and is worth a damn. How many Beatles-influenced groups have you ever heard that left you just wanting to hear the original thing? This is not the case with dEUS.

Find a better Belgian funk-soul groover than “What We Talk About (When We Talk About Love)” and you may have the keys to the kingdom. And if there’s any real problem with the album it’s that some of the grooves get repeated, as on “The Real Sugar” and “Cold Sun of Circumstance.” But when Pocket Revolution hits, it hits hard and consistently. Even the lesser tracks (well, save for that first one) are inviting. That said, it would be nice to see this band get some more Stateside attention once again, rather than relying on mainly imported channels. But it’s safe to say that this is one import that made it to our shores that’s well worth spending any amount of money on. You never know, it might be another five years before the band releases another album, and by that time who knows what state the whole business will be in? So get it while it’s hot.

~ Jason Thompson