A few weeks ago, I was reading the Seattle Times, and what should I find, but an article about the Japanese bank, Polysics. They were described as having a sound reminiscent of Devo. That piqued my interest, as I’ve always been a fan of Devo, though not as much as my friend Jon (WA license plate “Spudboy”).
So, I went to Amazon, and listened to some Polysics samples. I wasn’t really impressed, but I did come across a review that said Devo fans should listen to “The Network“. So, I listened to a couple of tracks, headed on over to half.com, and ordered a copy of Money Money 2020. It showed up earlier this week.
It’s always a challenge to describe a band’s sound, but it would be reasonable to describe The Network as a mix of Green Day and Devo. Not in a sonic sense, but in a literal sense – in one of the poorest-kept secrets, three of the members of the Network are Green Day, and purportedly the two other members (there is also a mysterious 6th member not listed on the album, but listed elsewhere) are ex-Devo members.
There are Green Day touches all over the album. With the exception of a few overlaid synths, “Spike” is a fairly typical Green Day song. “Roshambo” is also a very typical Green Day arrangement, though the instruments are not. And songs like “Spastic Society” are much more in the Devo realm.
For those of us who grew up in the 80’s, there are a few nice references (and you should definitely read the manifesto). There’s a “hungry like a wolf” reference, a “Luftballons” reference, and a number of 80’s riffs that are very familiar but I can’t quite place (can somebody please tell me where the riff on Right Hand-a-rama comes from?)
Overall, I think this is a pretty good album, and after a reflection, it’s not surprising that they got together. The messages in “American Idiot” and “Freedom of Choice” are really pretty close. The melding of ‘punk guitars’ with new wave songs and lyrics works pretty well. If you are a Devo and Green Day fan, you will definitely like this. If you’re a Devo fan, you will probably like it.
If you’re a straight-ahead Green Day fan, listen to a few tracks first.
I don’t recall anybody every asking the question, “What if Green Day were a new wave group?”, but I’m glad that they decided to answer the question anyway.
- Money Money 2020
- Hungry Hungry Models
- Spastic Society
Trivia – “Reto”, which is the title of the second track, means “Net or Network” in Esperato. Which got me thinking…
“Devo” means “a duty” in Esperanto…