Live in the Land of the Rising Sun
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I didn’t even know Devo was still actively performing until I received this disc, and what a treat it was to reconnect with one of the most sneakily revolutionary bands of the ’80s—especially when this set shows they can still rock hard. Yeah, they’re thicker in the torsos, and it is strange to see these guys as middle-aged MTV throwbacks, but the quirky energy is still coursing through their very un-rock-star hearts, and, as a result, they come off as really good avant-garde musicians with an armory of inspired guitar riffs, clacky rhythms, and bizarre sonic stabs. There’s nothing new here, but, unless you never got it in the first place, you’ll dig revisiting the anarchic magic of these boys from Ohio. The behind-the-scenes stuff is artsy dumb (the boys do their press conferences in surgical masks), but the interview with Gerald Casale and Mark Mothersbaugh is slyly funny and very informative. My recommendation is to leave normalcy behind for a few minutes and de-evolve. We are Devo! MVD. —Michael Molenda