14 May 2008 at 21:24 posted by Bart Van Belle 3 Comments

Vantage Point reviewed by The Times (2 stars out of 5).

Of the 10 tracks, only the beautiful Smokers Reflect invites a wholehearted thumbs-up.

And Inthenews.co.uk gives Vantage Point a 5 (on 10).

Disappointingly, after a good start Vantage Point falls apart like Ledley King gone white water rafting. The blissed out, strings-and-girl-from-the-Knife-laden Eternal Woman is pleasing, if a little plain, but it is the dated electro rock of Favourite Game and the painful stab at appearing relevant that is the synthy punk funk of The Architect that sees dEUS go from innovating to imitating.

3 Responses so far.

  1. "now you know it's not great if you don't come from the states" (of de UK)...

    Dit is weer zo typisch voor die snobistische en patriotische Engelse pers. Dat ze zelfs hun referenties nog niet juist krijgen en Eternal Woman aan The Knife linken ipv Slow toont nog maar eens aan dat de recensie wellicht al klaar lag voor ze de plaat al hadden gehoord.

  2. kfreemer says:

    I was so incensed by the cruddy inthenews article that I drafted my own in their comments section. God knows whether they'll put it up. If not, here it is:

    Aside from the fact that the lyric on 'When She Comes Down' is "Like a song that somebody sang / now sing me something new" and the fact the "girl from The Knife" doesn't appear on 'Eternal Woman', plus the fact that you don't even know basic geography, this is a really well-researched and thought through piece.

    Here's a proper review, all professional and that:

    dEUS - Vantage Point
    V2 - 2008

    Between 1999's sublime 'Ideal Crash' and 2005's comeback water-test 'Pocket Revolution', dEUS all but disappeared. During the keenly felt hiatus frontman Tom Barman made a movie, while other band members either left or experimented with their own stabs at mainstream success. Most significantly, it was in this period that Barman's penchant for knob-twitching came to the fore, resulting in funk / dance / cinema (yes, cinema) saturated side-project Magnus. That underrated collaboration with legendary DJ CJ Bolland has left a heavy indentation on dEUS ever since, with mixed results.

    Magnus hasn't left that much of a trace musically - 'Vantage Point' retains the deep grooves and complex multilayering that is the band's signature. Rather, Magnus marked a departure in the way dEUS works: what used to sound like a tight communal effort has now audibly morphed into individual bit-parts segued together at a later date. Thanks to the wondrous digital age, plus the instantaneous portability of music production software, dEUS is now a little less dEUS and a lot more Logic Studio.

    Still, that's not to say that 'Vantage Point' is at all a bad record. Opener 'When She Comes Down' literally brings the Antwerp five's trademark aural cajoling direct to your stereo system's mechanics. Starting off in a muddy, muted mono, you'd be forgiven for thinking that something was up with your speakers. A few seconds later, however, and what you're hearing is funkily fresh, vivid and sharp. By the time it opens out into an expansive chorus, you're already so dizzy from the benevolent assault on your ears that it takes some time to adjust. As first tracks go, this really is something awesome to have to follow.

    'Slow', this album's six minute centre piece, could be dEUS' theme song. Built around one simple fuzzy riff, it weaves its way through a haunting duet to an ominous Old World chorus only Europeans could muster. Confident driving drums are given rare precedence, highlighting a musicianship sometimes lost in the mix on other albums.

    Europe actually rears its head in many places on this record, ostensibly in rousing closer 'Popular Culture', but most pronouncedly on fun first single 'The Architect'. Angular, funny and clever, it sounds like the kind of thing a group of French philosophers might come up with if locked in a room with Radio 4 for a week. dEUS may have watered down their experimentation somewhat, but they certainly haven't lost their smarts.

    Unfortunately, not all of the album squares up quite so well. Second track 'Oh Your God', despite bearing a pleasingly dialectical title, is really just dEUS by numbers. Its fast tempo change is nothing if not predictable and, frankly, its loose theme of rockstar woe is more than a little boring. On this particular track, they may well have set the studio controls on auto-pilot.

    It's a similar story with 'Is a Robot'', which does have the saving grace of being interesting overall. 'Smoker's Reflect', though a beautiful highlight, is something of a retread - a kind of post 9/11 'Little Arithmetics'. Then again, if dEUS are derivative they at least have some pretty amazing source material: themselves.

    There's one major, glaring fault with 'Vantage Point'; it's inexcusably over-produced. Each song sounds as though it's been constantly varnished over and over again, making everything nice, shiny and accessible, but ultimately slickly inoffensive. The sooner the band ditch dull-as-ditch water producer Dave McCracken for first album producers Peter Vermeersch and Pierre Vervloesem the better.

    Yet dEUS albums are like train stops - each one a new destination, carrying some of the baggage of previous journeys while ultimately looking to the future. 'Vantage Point' is varied and complicated enough to keep fans happy, while also giving the band a mainstream feel they've never had before. Though this can't be said to be a good thing, they're still more imaginative and innovative than 99% of bands out there. Let's just hope that when we board the train next time around, dEUS have remembered who they really are, not what their Macbook Pros have made them.

  3. Anonymous says:

    MAURO reveille toi