London EC1 Aquarium

Our rating:

[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 [a]Mercury Rev[/a]’s: ‘arty’, ‘difficult’ bands toning down their experimental leanings in favour of a more accessible sound. [a]dEUS[/a]’ 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 [a]dEUS[/a] 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, [a]dEUS[/a] will always be freaks. But beautiful, nonetheless.