A multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, tech genius and Fuck Button of yore, Andrew Hung is brilliance. Performing every element of Devastations, this is artistry and it has to be experienced.
Opener Battle lays a sonic foundation of electronica and I’m holding out for the absolute trip the accompanying lighting arrangements will be. Without doubt, Promises is to my 2021 what Baxter Dury’s I’m Not Your Dog was to 2020 – a dark, slinky, nasty sounding joy. It is every gothic, eyelinered alt disco you went to, every trailing leather jacket…and the video is divine *chef’s kiss*.
‘I tried to believe in acts of kindness / But all I’m met with is promises made of silence, silence, silence’. Makes you take a sharp intake of breath, doesn’t it, which there’s little time to catch again before the beat carries you out and away. Absolute juxtaposition of pain and euphoric escape.
‘Brother’ is the hardest sounding song on this record and the lyrics are no softer: ‘angels tear each other apart, colours turn from light into the dark’. This feels like an age of bottled hurt being screamed into a pillow.
The imagery painted with sound and words in Devastations is outstandingly stark. There isn’t a track here which doesn’t invite vivid pictures to flash across across the mind’s eye, like a torch illuminating polaroids of the love and loss which inspired them.
‘Colour’ skips comparatively gently and hopefully, indicating a turning point in the inspiration. ‘Maybe I didn’t know, maybe I should have known’, ‘The ice turns into sugar, the wild wind into whispers’. There isn’t anyone reading this with whom that’ll fail to resonate.
‘Light’, ‘Wave’ and ‘Space’ to me, are reminiscent of the dreamiest Brian Jonestown Massacre sounds, but you can’t float far in the former before the impassioned cry of ‘I see the light again’ ground you with hope. But, if Anton Newcombe is reading, I’m ready for his cover of ‘Wave’…*hint*. Space has a naughty beat and this beautiful poetry: ‘Perfection exists in space, that’s why we’re reaching for the stars’. Hung’s vocals are determined and go toe-to-toe with the sparkling cacophony he creates. It’s fucking gorgeous, mate(s).
Closing track ‘Goodbye’ (nice 👌🏽) sends us off once again being pulled between sunny melody and the lyrical dark cloud, bringing to an end what would be a wonderful, painful chapter. The final, almost monotone, ‘Goodbye’ tells us everything we do not need to know.
Devastations is exactly what 2021 needs, what I needed; it is lights, it is sound, it is pain, it is recovery and I cannot wait to see it live in all its wonderful, sometimes maniacal, sometimes wave-riding glory.
Album of the Year 2021.
Do us a favour and buy physical…I hear the tees are embroidered and make for an exquisite washing experience.
Words by Lisa Whiteman