Here is a rather dull review I did back in the late 90’s of Deus’ 1994 masterpiece ‘Worst Case Scenario’. You’ll find something from the band to enliven preceedings further down. Deus.be very good.
Deus are from Antwerp in Belgium and demonstrate a skewed musical momentum usually produced from downing 2 barrow loads of rich chocolate. Their sound is as innovative as it is adventurous and this, their debut album set them up as true alternative heroes. Deus create nervous, frolicking, diverse music that is so off-kilter it could likely damage sound systems used to bland daytime radio schedules. The brightest moments on this album are undoubtedly the three singles but the quality is consistently high all the way through.
Blending tattered Velvet Underground violin splinters with a ramshackle beat ‘Hotel Lounge (be the death of me)’ is music on a grand scale. Off-beat and unlikely to attract your attention at first, it has innate self-belief that will eventually win you over. Rudy Trouve’s has a way with a guitar that somehow makes it sound like a second vocal. Like his name he always finds his mark. ‘Suds and Soda’ gets it inspiration from the unlikeliest of sources. Tom Barman shouts as the frazzled Venus in Furs blizzard behind him erupts. As the clouds part and the decibels drop sanity is restored and the listener basks in the serenity until the mayhem returns again. Ok, it sounds almost nightmarish but it is rather fine. ‘Via’ is a little more straightforward but is so dynamic its like sticking your head in the washing machine without having to worry about the inevitable head injuries.
The title track ‘W.C.S. (first draft)’ is a mildly funky number that has that red-light district feel about it. In fact you may spend time looking over your shoulder for its duration such is its shudder inducing quality. Then there are sweet understated Pop moments like ‘Secret Hell’, ‘Right as Rain’ and ‘Jigsaw You’ that make this an album of many differing motivations. There is also a peculiar nod to the Pixies on ‘Morticiachair’ which is suitably off-beat and self-loathing. For every shot of Velvet Underground in Deus’ sound there are dashes of Sonic Youth but Worse Case Scenario is a uniquely Deus creation. At times W.C.S. sounds as if the geniuses have taken over the asylum but it is ultimately a helter-skelter ride worth taking. Like their influences Deus are likely to be discovered long after they’ve stopped producing records. ‘Worse Case Scenario’ remains one of the most ambitious débuts of the 90’s and today sounds as fresh as it did back then. This music is in equal parts bold, aggressive, essential and timeless. You’ll struggle to take on the visceral sounds but after a few spins the reward will be overwhelming. What was that rubbish about the Belgium’s being boring? KD
Deus – Suds & Soda