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Following Sea
dEUS Following Sea
Released 1 June 2012
Producer Adam Noble
Label [PIAS]
Length 42:53
Genre Indie, alternative rock
Website deus.be/home

dEUS's latest album Following Sea comes just eight months after its predecessor Keep You Close it was recorded on the road with the songs mostly being written in a series of furious "nocturnal jams" according to singer Tom Barman. Following Sea also includes several songs from the Keep You Close sessions. As a result the album is a Neapolitan collection of songs inspired by various cities and countries with a lyrical thread of travel and in particular nautical adventure running throughout, which was eventually reflected in the album’s title.

'Quatre Mains' has a seedy strip club funk meets James Bond theme flavour with funky guitar stabs and pulsating bass combining with strings and harpsichord. Amazingly it's dEUS's first song to be sung in French, but with Tom Barman's voice sounding so lush and seedy on this track it's safe to say it won't be the last. From France to Spain on 'Sirens' the follow up track to 'Ghosts' from Keep You Close. Indeed elements of 'Sirens' were originally intended to be included in 'Ghosts'. However 'Sirens' stands up as a song in its own right as opposed to just being an afterthought.

'Girls Keep Drinking' is the first unfulfilling song on the album. Inspired by Antwerp's insipid nightlife it leads us through a disco rant at the financial sector and politicians. It all seems a bit rushed and under-thought probably as a result or dEUS's decision to write and record at an abnormally heightened pace for the band. On second single 'The Soft Fall' Tom Barman's vocal switches between a romantic Steve Wall-esque lilt and a Baz Luhrmann spoken word life lesson. It’s the most pleasing of the mid album trio of romantic compositions with a memorable chorus of, "This is what the good life is". Unfortunately 'Crazy About You' is frankly paltry and throwaway by comparison. However 'Nothings' despite its title holds some weight, harking back to earlier reflective material in dEUS's cannon.

'The Give Up Gene' is a successful return to the album’s earlier seedy feel widening the album’s musical geography to Brazil with the inclusion of a throbbing berimbau motif augmented by yet another wonderfully dark bassline. Barman delivers one of the album’s best spoken word performances reflecting on the failings of the captain of the Costa Concordia and the corruption of power and lack of standards in the wider world. The most memorable thing about 'Fire Up The Google Beast Algorithm' is its title. The two minute stream of consciousness rant resembles a throwaway track resembling a secret song. It's yet another unfulfilling moment from a band with usually impeccable standards of craftsmanship. Thankfully, 'One Thing About Waves' concludes Following Sea in dEUs's traditional way, with an epic. 'One Thing About Waves' unfurls itself over the course of six minutes brimming with cascading guitar stabs and Barman's finest vocal performance of the album.

It leaves you with the feeling that Following Sea could have been an immense album rather than a good but patchy album, had standards been set slightly higher. It's a shame as there are some fantastic songs on the album but, as a whole it doesn't quite deliver. However, Following Sea indicates that there is plenty creative juice left in Tom Barman and Co. and they could easily strike gold next time around.

- Stephen Byrne