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London EC1 Aquarium

[a]dEUS[/a] are at their most effective when at their most schizophrenic, as in [B]'Instant Street'[/B], a cumulative epic which grows from playful acoustic ballad into a full-on electroid freak-ou

Undoubtedly, 1999 will be full of 'this year's Mercury Rev's: 'arty', 'difficult' bands toning down their experimental leanings in favour of a more accessible sound. dEUS' excellent new 'The Ideal Crash' LP is no exception, betraying much more of a college-rock flavour than their previous excursions. Live, however, they remain as biliously enchanting as ever.



A warped Velvets-influenced drone bent into melodic shapes is still their calling card, electric violin and banks of detuned guitars railing and rattling simultaneously, creating a bustling, flowering bruise of beautiful noise. Singer-guitarist Tom Barman's beguiling, Stipe-esque vocal gives the throbbing mass of sound a focus, plaintively wrenching poignancy from songs old and new ('Little Arithmetics' and 'Sister Dew' respectively), a charismatic burr that is never quite alienating in its otherness.



Thankfully, the band are never quite able to subsume their more unwieldy charms; check the vicious 'Put The Freaks Up Front' or the psychotic groove of 'Everybody's Weird' for proof. But dEUS are at their most effective when at their most schizophrenic, as in 'Instant Street', a cumulative epic which grows from playful acoustic ballad into a full-on electroid freak-out. And who really wants dEUS to change? It's a brutalising 'Suds & Soda', the song they first won our hearts with years back, which finally ignites the packed moshpit.



As hard as they might try to prove otherwise, dEUS will always be freaks. But beautiful, nonetheless.

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