Melbourne based retro-rockers Devil Electric are, ostensibly, a fairly straightforward proposition; Dealing in sludgy, molasses-thick rifferama with both feet planted firmly in the seventies, the quartet move with some agility across the musical landscape, never completely escaping their influences yet at the same time never becoming bogged down in musical matters passed. There’s something very ‘now’ in the way they go about their business.
Some of that comes from the superb production afforded Godless by the band themselves and engineer Julian Schweitzer, who mixed the album. Music that takes it’s cues from the past doesn’t always need to sound dated to be effective, and here the band bring a modern gloss to their doom-laden tones that makes tracks like I Will Be Forgotten really stand out from the fuzz-obsessed crowd.
But the main part of DE’s appeal comes from vocalist Pierina O’Brien; supremely comfortable within both the sound of the band and her own vocal character, O’Brien owns everything she sings with an understated panache that only the truly gifted possess. She never oversings – even when the trio around her are ‘giving it some hammer’ as we say in the industry – because she quite literally never needs to. Despite seemingly not leaving an ounce of herself on the recording booth floor, you sense that, on slinky rockers like All My Friends Move Like The Night, there’s bags more in the tank if required.
That means the potential for Devil Electric to progress beyond the not inconsiderable amount they’ve achieved with Godless is massive; and when drummer Mark van de Beek locks in to the pulsing grooves of Tom Hulse‘s bass and the unforgiving riffage of Christos Athanasias that potential reveals itself to the listener… this is heavy music, yes, but it’s music that moves the soul as well as the innards. And that’s pretty good music indeed in this reviewer’s book. Have a listen and tell me I’m wrong…
Godless is out now.