Album Review: No Devotion – Permanence

Forget all that you know about No Devotion’s former groups. This is a fresh start for all involved especially for those from Lostprophets. It’s probably been said a thousand times already but one more time won’t do any harm. If you’ve been paying attention since they dropped the infectious ‘Stay’ last year, then you already know that No Devotion isn’t a continuation of Lostprophets or Thursday, vocalist Geoff Rickly’s former band. No Devotion marks a new beginning. One that is expansive stylistically and plays off post-punk synths and ethereal vocals. In a loose sense, No Devotion aren’t a rock band. They’re a group who are reinvigorated and hungry to make a mark.

So after keeping us waiting for a year, ‘Permanence’ arrives off the back an impressionable Leeds Festival debut and a handful of favourable singles. It’s those songs that serve as the albums shining lights. ‘Permanent Summer’ is a punchy (The) Cure-esque number that kickstarts the album following the airy opener ‘Break’. ‘10,000 Summers’ is a subtle power ballad with a radiant chorus. Whilst ‘Addition’ is a guilt-ridden slice of layered, atmospheric rock with Rickly’s glistening vocals countering stiff bass lines and impactful drums. The aforementioned ‘Stay’ is still as impressive as the first time we heard it. The hollow build to its anthemic chorus continues to be trapped in my head for days on end.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FiUMS4jM84w&w=100&h=424]

Besides the singles, you’re probably wondering what else ‘Permanence’ has to offer. The truth is that it’s an intriguing mixed bag. ‘Eyeshadow’ is fittingly broody with cold guitar chords complimenting Rickly’s low, intimate vocals. The angsty ‘I Wanna Be Your God’ takes that coldness and mixes it with bitterness and a touch of relief in the chorus as Rickly simply declares “I Wanna Be Your God.” ‘Night Drive’ at first dwells with dwindling synths, power chords and punchy drums before hitting its stride in the chorus, yet outstays it’s welcome.

Admittedly ‘Permanence’ requires patience at first, as it can take a few listens to understand No Devotion’s intentions. Is it a cohesive effort? Certainly. It’s musically vast and ambitious. Is it throughly engaging? Not quite. ‘Why Can’t I Be You?’ and closing number ‘Grand Central’ dwell too much on the electro side of ND’s sound, sending the album into an unfortunate lull.

Nonetheless for all its slight imperfections, No Devotion is a multi-faceted band that are using this fresh opportunity to explore their musical avenues. The end result is an intriguing but firm debut that should allow its member to build from here on.

Don’t call it a comeback. Call it an impressive new start.

3.5/5

‘Permanence’ by No Devotion is out now on Collect Records.

No Devotion links: Website|Facebook|Twitter

Words by Sean Reid (@SeanReid86)

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