Devo – Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!

devo

ARTIST: Devo
TITLE: Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!
YEAR RELEASED: 1978
CHART ACTION: #78 US, #12 UK
SINGLES: Satisfaction (#41 UK), Jocko Homo (#62 UK), Come Back Jonee (#60 UK)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Uncontrollable Urge, Mongolid and Jocko Homo (which has the title of the record in the refrain) but you probably have heard the whole record at some point if you hung out with the nerds and geeks.
LINEUP: Mark Motherspaugh, Gerald V. Casale, Bob I Motherspaugh, Bob II Casale, Alan Myers
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Art damaged Ohioans confound the Western World with their philosophy of “de-evolution”, whilst dressed in yellow haz-mat suits with 3-D glasses.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Mind you, when this first showed up in record stores it was definitely mind-bending to the straights. Their deranged take on Satisfaction stirred up some trouble. However, through all of the weirdness are some great songs and great playing, and Uncontrollable Urge is just a flat out ripper as an album starter. This is a definite classic and perhaps the beginning of American post-punk.

One secret to Devo’s success is that they don’t sacrifice the melody even when being obtuse and strange. You can sing along to pretty much everything on this record (except Too Much Paranoias, but that has its charm as well).

NOTES & MINUTAE: Devo was around for four years or so before they recorded this, and definitely honed their vision and their songs. They released an EP in the UK in 1977 (“Be Stiff”) that isn’t available anywhere but the cuts are scattered here and there on compilations. So they weren’t a raw band going into the studio.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, there are bonus track options and an entire albums worth of live tracks is appended onto the Google Play version.

GRADE: A:  This is what a debut record should be. Smart, uncompromising, and visionary.

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