No Devotion – No Oblivion (Album Review)

No Devotion – No Oblivion (Album Review)

The departure of No Devotion members (currently consisting of the trio of Geoff Rickly (lead vocals), Lee Gaze (lead guitar, backing vocals), and Stuart Richardson (bass, piano, keyboards, synthesizer) from the musical style of their previous group was much welcomed by enthusiasts of Post-Punk/New Wave/Shoegaze. Coming together initially in 2014, the sweet-sour sentiments and melodies of their 2015’s debut album Permanence was a testimony of this. Now, seven years later, the Welsh-American band returns with the long awaited follow up, No Oblivion.

Released on September 16, 2022, via Velocity Records / Equal Vision Records, No Oblivion is a compact eight-track effort oozing with the same vibes and energy. Their first album to not feature previous members Luke Johnson, Jamie Oliver and Mike Lewis, who all departed from the band, the new music is also the first to not be released by Collect Records. Produced by the band’s own Stuart Richardson, at around thirty-seven minutes in length, it opens aptly with the carrier single – the spacey and dreamy “Starlings.” The ensuing title-track follows flawlessly in the same style and pace. And then there is the funereal Gothic drench of “A Sky Deep and Clear” and deadpan, black & white balladry of “Love Songs from Fascist Italy,” both of which exude aural and lyrical echoes of The Cure’s Pornography days.

Later on, “The End of Longing” is certainly a foray into Shoegaze territory; it will fit well onto a playlist that includes My Bloody Valentine’s “When You Sleep,” Catherine Wheel’s “I Want to Touch You,” and Ride’s “Vapour Trail.” The mood then slows down with the tribal rhythm of “Endless Desire.” This is while the album’s second single and penultimate song, “Repeater,” then emits its sweetly slow, subtle, and shimmery luminescence. Finally, No Devotion conclude their new record with “In a Broken Land” – another cold, dark, and dreary Gothic masterpiece.

Sustaining member changes, label changes, and more, No Devotion continues to brave the challenging and ever-changing tide of the music world. The persevering band’s new effort proves to be its latest potent vehicle for this hypnotic sonic trip. That is why Cryptic Rock gives No Oblivion 4 out of 5 stars.

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aLfie vera mella
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Born in 1971, in Metro Manila, Philippines, aLfie vera mella is a healthcare worker, singer/songwriter, and editor/writer. He was the frontman of the ’90s-peaking Philippine Alternative Rock / New Wave band Half Life Half Death, which released a full-length album and several singles on Viva Records. aLfie worked at Diwa Scholastic Press as an editor/writer of academic textbooks and supplementary magazines, focusing on Science & Technology and English Grammar & Literature. In 2003, aLfie migrated to Canada; he has since been living in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He works full-time at a healthcare institution, while serving as the associate contributing editor of Filipino Journal—a local community newspaper in Winnipeg—tackling Literature, Languages, Cultures, Lifestyles, and Music. aLfie has been a music journalist since the mid-’90s for various print magazines as well as websites. He started writing album reviews for Cryptic Rock in 2015. In 2016, aLfie published Part One (Literature & Languages and Their Cultural Significance) of his Essay Series, Can You Hear the Sound of a Falling Leaf?; in 2021, his first book of poetry, Pag-íhip sa Dáhon ng Kahápon [Blowing Leaves of Yesterday]. In his spare time, he enjoys reading books and listening to music. aLfie is a dedicated father to his now 13-year-old son, Evawwen; and a loving husband to Kathryn Mella, who herself moonlights also as a writer aside from holding a degree in Bachelor of Arts, Major in Sociology.

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