Many of us who grooved on quirky bands like Devo and Oingo Boingo when we were in school prided ourselves on watching frontmen Mark Mothersbaugh and Danny Elfman, respectively, become hip, vaunted film composers – particularly when one (Mothersbaugh) wrote the music for one of our kids’ favorite shows.
But there is no reason they can’t get the old band back together, and thank goodness Mothersbaugh and his Devo cohorts – his brother Bob Mothersbaugh, brothers Bob and Jerry Casale, and Josh Freese – reunited for Something for Everybody. No, there’s nothing to rival the ear worm qualities of Whip It or Girl You Want. But it’s good to have Devo’s distinct voice and take on society back in the 21st Century, which is where the dome heads always seemed to come from.
If you never liked Devo’s heavily keyboard- and electric drum-based sound, there is nothing here to win you over. While What We Do, with its chorus of “What we do is what we do,” is a commentary about society on auto jet pilot, it also seems to be an appropriate commentary on Devo’s style. But for fans, there’s a bit of stretching and a lot of fun in that style, primarily the first single, Don’t Shoot (I’m a Man), which incorporates University of Florida student Andrew Meyer’s infamous plea, “Don’t tase me, bro!” as he was being dragged from a lecture hall by police. Fresh is a pulse-quickener to start the album, making it seem like it’s 1980 all over again.
There is a little evidence of the scope of Mothersbaugh’s composition work in the second to last track, No Place Like Home. But overall, this is just good, sometimes-thought provoking fun, which is all we ever wanted from Devo.
Devo plays Lousiville’s Forecastle Festival Saturday.