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Album #237: Dehd – Flower of Devotion

  • Released: 2020
  • Origin: Chicago, Illinois, USA
  • Label: Fire Talk
  • Best Track: Disappear

A common criticism of music journalists is that they’re obsessed with genres, then subgenres, then micro-genres, and they can’t describe an artist without comparing them to another artist.

I defend this by saying that it’s very difficult to describe something you can hear with something you can read, and that the only other way to do it is to be much more abstract and say that this band sounds like the onset of spring, or a building collapsing (this approach can be quirky and fun if done sparingly and with imagination).

It’s even harder when a band like Dehd come along who are so hard to pigeonhole. On second album Flower of Devotion (released in July), I can think of a lot of bands they sound a bit like at times – Pixies, The Drums, The Jesus & Mary Chain, Cocteau Twins, even Fleetwood Mac – but nobody they sound a LOT like.

Genre-wise, too, I’m struggling. Some tracks on this record are definitely pop, like ‘Haha’. Others, like ‘Drip Drop’, are murky post-punk, and ‘No Time’ even has the feel of an old-fashioned rock duet.

The earworm of the album is definitely ‘Disappear’ with its chant-along chorus, although it’s a toss-up really between that and the aching ‘Apart’ for my top track.

Perhaps it’s better to just think of this as a wide collection of impressive and moving songs, most of them little longer than two minutes.

If I am being abstract, the album sounds like smoke – a dark, dingy room that reeks of tobacco comes to mind with every echo-drenched track. It’s atmospheric and brilliant.

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