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The Ideal Crash

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Album Review

dEUS continues to bring out its best and then some on The Ideal Crash, which in many ways might be the group's best all-around effort yet. That makes it a further pity it didn't get an American release, relegating the quintet further into the realms of cult appreciation stateside — an undeserved fate for a band that has so clearly worked well with its sources of inspiration there. If anything, though, dEUS has moved into the realms of removed elegance on The Ideal Crash — the aggressive push mixed with nightclub shadows of the past turned into a strange, calming dream at many points. Consider "One Advice, Space," whose trippy keyboard whines and drones layer over the core song to create an unsettled murk, suddenly broken by the subtle shift to strings and sweetly layered vocals on the chorus. The gentle descending chime of "The Magic Hour" and the banjo and string-tinged slow building brawl "Instant Street" further capture the mood of seemingly relaxed intensity. David Bottrill's production is a secret element in the success of The Ideal Crash, his skilled ears helping to really bring out the sly but strong tension in so many of the band's songs. Opening number "Put the Freaks Up Front" in particular, shifting fluidly as it does into a mélange of motorik-inspired rhythm trance and dark lounge jazz horns, with Barman's vocals and the overall results suggesting what Nirvana might have tried in another lifetime and a wider range to work with, sets a high bar at the start, even if much of the album works in lower-key ways. Nods subtle and otherwise to bands like Portishead (whose "Mysterons" seems to have suggested the start to "Sister Dew") give further evidence of a band that keeps its ears open while still retaining its own counsel on what to finally sound like.


Formed: 1991 in Antwerp, Belgium

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

The first Belgian-based indie act ever to sign to a major international label, the improvisational avant-grunge group dEUS was originally comprised of vocalist/guitarist Tom Barman, bassist Stef Kamil Carlens, drummer Julle De Borgher, violinist Klaas Janzoons, and guitarist Rudy Trouvé. Formed in Antwerp in 1991, dEUS began their career as strictly a cover band, but soon began performing new material, honing an irreverent, free-form live show drawing on influences ranging from folk and punk to jazz...
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The Ideal Crash, dEUS
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