dEUS are back.
As the last millennium flickered to a close and fresh from releasing sublime third album Ideal Crash and the Europe-wide sellout extravaganza of the accompanying tour, new vistas began to beckon and a trail of personal solo musical projects and, in lead singer Tom Barman's case, the small matter of writing and directing his debut movie, ‘Any Way The Wind Blows', led the band in a myriad of different directions. So diversely busy have the band been that it is a wonder that they actually made it back so quickly.
It all began in 1994. A small but vibrant Antwerp music scene meant that most alternative bands were incestuous, liquid beings; with each musician being as likely to be in five bands as one, but a mutual love of all things alternative and underground, melded five talented musicians and performers into dEUS. A band that spent the next six years producing a body of work that, chameleon-like, was able to array it's colour shifts of musical style and tone in dazzling kaleidoscope but, in shape, was eternally, indisputably and umistakably dEUS.
Debut album Worst Case Scenario with the gonzoid punk chant of first single Suds & Soda to the off kilter pop sensibilities of Via and onwards to the gentle introspective elegance of Hotellounge (Be The Death Of Me), emanated from the streets of Belgium across mainland Europe and stone skipped its way across the Channel to knock on the door of the musical psyche of a continent. Backed up by powerhouse live performances through Europe dEUS had successfully launched themselves into the burgeoningly healthy indie scene of the mid-90s and achieved it with a hybrid of intelligence and experimentation that perhaps was lacking in some of the more back-to-basics, past-reverential sounds of their contemporaries
This was followed with the atypical bloody mindedness of the low-key release ‘My Sister = My Clock', an EP sequenced as an imaginary soundtrack. And a first loss, with guitarist Rudy Trouve deciding (to paraphrase) that ‘touring be the death of him' and opting to leave the band. Rudy was replaced by Scotsman Craig Ward, who was to become a stalwart of the next two albums.
Second album In A Bar Under The Sea was produced by Eric ‘Drew' Feldman, a Captain Beefheart Magic Band veteran who had also played in PJ Harvey's band and The Pixies. dEUS, with the inhibitions of a band in a sweetshop, created an album which surprised not only with the ebullient eclecticism of the music but even more so with how it segued so beautifully together: Moving from the 60s cinematic panorama of Theme From Turnpike to the sweetly beguiling dancefloor pop nugget of 'Little Arithmetics' onwards to the brooding avant-grunge explosion of Roses to the spine tingling gentility of love song 'Serpentine'. The end of the album, again, was to see another founding member of dEUS depart, bass player Stef Kamil Carlens decided to call it a day in order to concentrate on his own band, Zita Swoon. The gap he left was bridged by Danny Mommens.
This chapter closes with third album, 'The Ideal Crash' (1999), recorded in Spain with David Bottrill at the helm. By now, namechecked by the likes of Radiohead and REM, commanding huge festival audiences and selling out venues across Europe, expectations were running high and dEUS did not disappoint. Their most cohesive album to date once more explored new musical directions and sounds, including brass instruments, strings and even the little used mellotron into their distinctive mix. As immediate as it was experimental, Ideal Crash, vindicated the philosophy that to make successful music you needn't dumb down creatively. Singles Instant Street, Sister Dew and The Ideal Crash surfed the airwaves of Europe for months on end adding to the ever growing collection of dEUS classics. Their final live shows became celebratory events, the addition of a third guitarist (friend Tim Vanhamel Millionaire, ex of Evil Superstars and Josh Hommes Eagles of Death Metal), the trademark violin of Klaas Janzoons, fire eaters and dancers created a spectacular tour de force that would stay in the memory of anyone lucky enough to be in attendance. dEUS had reached their greatest heights and had done so on their own terms.
This is where the story freeze frames.
With the exception of the release of their singles collection No More Loud Music, which underlined their position as one of the most creative bands of the last decade and desperately compounded the heartfelt desire for their return, dEUS became a collective of individuals pursuing fresh vistas and ideas - a five year long busman's holiday if you will.
The page turns and now dEUS are back. New album, new line up, new passion. Drummer Stéphane Misseghers (ex of Soulwax) joined dEUS as they began work on the new album. The line up was finally crystallized in Autumn 2004 when Alan Gevaert (ex of Chris Withley & Arno) joined on bass and, Craig Ward, having moved on to pastures new, was replaced in dEUS by friend and musical cohort, the legendarily and effortlessly cool Mr Mauro Pawlowski (formerly the lead singer with the much missed Evil Superstars and also Mitsoobishi Jacson amongst many other fine incarnations).
Pre-Christmas gigs sold out in an instant and rave reviews suggested a prodigal return. The promise of a fourth studio album of new material, whet the appetite of all who were familiar with the musical landscape that dEUS had thus far created and new audiences will surely beckon. dEUS may have been a little tardy of late, but no one can doubt that this fourth album will further the musical canon of a band in perpetual motion - in measure enchanting, confounding, heartbreaking and dazzling but never ever disappointing.
The stage is set and dEUS return with their new album ‘Pocket Revolution' on September 12th.