CD Review: DEVO – Something For Everybody

DEVO have released their first new studio album in 20 years. The new album, entitled “Something For Everybody,” is the follow-up to 1990’s “Smooth Noodle Maps.” The album was released in the UK on Monday June 14th, followed by the North American release the next day.

“Thirty years ago, people said that we were cynical, that we had a bad attitude,” says Devo’s Mark Mothersbaugh. “But now, when you ask people if de-evolution is real, they understand that there was something to what we were saying. It’s not the kind of thing you want to see proven right, but it does make it easier to talk about.”

More than three decades after the release of their visionary debut, Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo, and a full 20 years since their last studio album, Devo are back with the aptly titled “Something for Everybody”. The long rumoured, wildly anticipated album (which was recently launched with a memorable performance in Vancouver at the Winter Olympics) features the band’s classic line-up – Mark and Bob Mothersbaugh, Gerald and Bob Casale — joined by drummer Josh Freese (Nine Inch Nails, Guns n’ Roses).

This album really does bring the Devo sound bang up to date. Admittedly upon first play I was very unsure but in fairness I was comparing it directly with Are We Not Men as this is the album of theirs which I have heard so many times and find it impossible to tire of. The more I hear Something For Everybody, the more I want to hear it, in just the same was as Are we Not Men, this says it all to me.

Something For Everybody kicks off with ‘Fresh’, a jumping and thumping tune which is to be the first single release from this album and a perfect starting point for this album. It is a superb collection of De-voluted electro synth rock with just enough pop to make it so catchy and listenable/marketable. DEVO have announced that they will appear in the hit animated series FUTURAMA’s 100th episode special. The episode will see DEVO campaign for mutant rights. Leela’s parents are second-class, mutant citizens who live underground in the sewers, the members of Devo have mutated over the years, while vocalist Mark Mothersbaugh helps out with their campaign for equality. This suits perfectly, the Devo sound has been campaigning for musical mutants since 1978 and it is still highly active.

Something For Everybody has been produced by Greg Kurstin (The Bird & The Bee), the album also includes contributions from John Hill and Santi White (better known as rising hip-hop star Santigold), John King of the Dust Brothers, and the Teddybears. This has led to an amazing album consisting of sixteen tunes that will be getting just the same amount of playback on my stereo as Are We Not Men has had.

Devo’s sound, style, and philosophy have been an influence on artists from Rage Against the Machine to Lady Gaga. Kurt Cobain once said, “Of all the bands who came from the underground and actually made it in the mainstream, Devo is the most challenging and subversive of all.”

“The world is in sync with Devo,” says his band-mate and co-writer Gerald Casale. “We’re not the guys who freak people out and scare them – we’re like the house band on the Titanic, entertaining everybody as we go down.”