dEUS- ‘Keep You Close’ album review

Originally published on The Line of Best Fit September 21, 2011

In the 17 years since their debut album Worse Case Scenario, dEUS have infiltrated every part of Belgian music and turned Antwerp into the Williamsburg or Portland of mainland Europe. Before dEUS, who are best known for ‘Little Arithmatics’, Belgian music was dominated by Jacques Brel, but rather than reject their heritage, Brel’s paradigm introduced Leonard Cohen’s and Tom Waits’ obtuse quirky shadows into the nation’s indie rock. WCS and the wonderful ‘Suds n Soda’ set the benchmark for other Antwerp groups with its frantic violins, feedback and mellow accordions.

A key member of early dEUS and the burgeoning city scene was guitarist Rudy Trouve who left to concentrate on experimental work, setting up labels and nurturing platforms for other luminaries of the Belgian scene DAAU and Zita Swoon, of which former dEUS bassist, Stef Carlens, is band leader. The juttering Evil Superstars – think The Birthday Party covering the Wannadie s- provided a shot of angst, and vocalist/guitarist Mauro Pawlowski is now a member of dEUS.  The band’s inbreeding continues as Trouve and Pawlowski were also members of The Love Substitutes. Far from being a revolving door, dEUS are the core of a nations music scene – as well as a good source of geeky fanboy rock facts.

Antwerp’s thriving scene spread to other cities with Brussels producing the brooding Ghinzu, and Ghent’s Soulwax, a band you may have heard of – finally. So a release by dEUS is a serious affair, they have a major chapter in rock history and arguably allowed Radio Soulwax to shift electro into the indie world, mashing up our recent dance climate. Keep you Close is dEUS’ sixth album, their third since reforming after singer Tom Barman’s foray into cinema and techno releases with CJ Bolland.

Keep You Close is an antidote to their previous album, Vantage Point – a rawkus angular affair, and sees barman in a mellower reflective mood yet with an epic virtuosity. Keep You Close opens with its title track, a burst of cinematic orchestration straight from the Manics’ ‘Design for Life’, before settling into a gentle glockenspiel interlocked with Barman’s inescapable and maturing vocals. It casually slips into ‘A Final Blast’ which tramples around a distorted bass line with cameos form piano’s and guitar’s in fleeting bursts. There’s a definite art-house noir feel to it along the lines of a jolly Tindersticks and early Broadcast.

Continued here.


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