Album review: No Devotion – No Oblivion

Seven years later, electro-rock supergroup No Devotion return with soaring second album…

Album review: No Devotion – No Oblivion
Nick Ruskell

No Devotion's debut album, 2015's Permanence, was a record that took the talents of the band's constituent parts – Thursday's Geoff Rickly, plus Lee Gaze, Stuart Richardson, Mike Lewis, Jamie Oliver and Luke Johnson, formerly of Lostprophets – and filtered them through a dreamy, electronic haze. Somewhere between Deftones at their most mellow, Bristol trip-hop geniuses Portishead and the more sensitive side of Nine Inch Nails, the record was awash with evocative digital sounds, largely best taken on headphones in solitude.

So long had it been since any activity came from the camp, many had concluded it was a done deal, a one-time thing. On No Oblivion, only Geoff, Lee and Stuart may remain, but they've pushed even further into their lush realm.

The vibe is as soaring as ever, and Geoff's vocals in particular are superb. In their atmosphere, songs like Starlings and Repeaters swirl and melt. Meanwhile, the title-track brings forth an almost goth-rock edge, 3am on the way back from the club stuff. The temptation with this sort of thing is often to either make parts jarringly banging or overly and artificially beautiful and lose focus. With similar touchstones to Norwegian black metal-turned-electro-pop outfit Ulver, they tread the tightrope admirably.

Perhaps what's best about No Oblivion is that the loose nature of the band means there's no expectation on it, no career-facing need for it to succeed. It exists because its creators felt like making it, for the sake of making music. Behind the digital wall, it's this that gives this music a very real, human heart, and makes it all the better for it.

Verdict: 3/5

For fans of: Ulver, Perturbator, Nine Inch Nails

No Oblivion is out now via Equal Vision

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