Devo

Shout

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Shout was Devo's sixth studio album, and the last they would record before a five-year layoff, and while it's pure speculation if the making of this disc had anything to do with that decision, from a creative standpoint this represents the low point of the group's first era. While the herky-jerky push-and-pull between homemade electronics and cheap guitars was a large part of what made Devo's first few albums so exciting, Shout is so slick and glossy one could fry an egg on its surfaces, and that isn't a good thing -- with the exception of "Puppet Boy" and "Please Please," this music is carefully processed synth pop with all human surfaces stripped away, and possessing no more personality or edge than what Howard Jones or Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark were doing around the same time (and, for that matter, with far less vision or daring than what Prince was starting to do with electronics). It might have helped if the group had come up with a batch of interesting songs, but that sure wasn't the case, and it's hard to believe that Shout was made by the same people who wrote "Girl U Want," "Gates of Steel" or "Big Mess" just a few years earlier. By a slim margin over such post-comeback misfires as Total Devo and Smooth Noodle Maps (which at least have a dash more enthusiasm going for them), Shout holds the distinction of being Devo's worst album.

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