Under Review

Under Review: Escape from Planet Devours, Devours

Shayna Bursey

Devours is a name I’ve heard around Vancouver for quite some time. It’s only when I saw him live at a block party this past September, that I realized why he’s considered such a force. His appearance is immediately captivating, but it’s the breadth and depth of his artistic expression that keeps you truly entertained. Live music was just starting to rear its head again, and we all watched amazed as he toiled over his cauldron of media equipment in the middle of Victory Square — featuring perfect segues into each track and especially potent commentary in between. It was a great introduction to this seasoned artist.

Escape from Planet Devours presents a comprehensive mix of pop, punk, glam, and Nintendo beep-boops that paint a thick, yet subtle, nostalgia throughout the entire album. The track listing has been meticulously arranged in a way that’s meant to keep the listener guessing. The first handful of tracks are dance anthems that had me wishing we were still living in a time where I could girate near sweaty strangers, covered in layers of glitter that would follow me for weeks afterwards. There’s a certain darkness to songs like “Nomi’s Got Heat” and “Feckless Abandon”, but you’re so caught up in the whirlwind of electronica, you find it hard to concentrate on anything but the light.

While Devours has a very distinct look, his music transcends the new wave trash image he puts forth. In all honesty, I expected a lot of bass, even more synth, and I aimed the bar low in terms of lyrical content. That’s not meant to be an insult to the artist, it’s just what I’ve come to expect from this musical genre. However, the raw emotion living in the album was surprising, most notably, in the same lyrics I was so quick to prematurely dismiss. Many of the songs convey a level of vulnerability through intimacy. Escape from Planet Devours showcases  expressions of pain and heartbreak, while acting as a commentary on being misunderstood, by both the people in our lives and society as a whole. “Theme from Drifters (1976)” is a particularly moving track, as Devours confesses all the inner character flaws he believes he possesses. All the while, I feel like he is airing my own inner insecurities — all the things about myself I’m not sure I could say aloud. It’s emotional, hard, and soft — all at the same time. However, as deep as some of these lyrics are, “I was born in a bathhouse and raised in a barn” still remains my favourite lyric of 2021.

I feel like fans of Death from Above 1979, Jake Shears, Crystal Castles, and The Cure will find this album an instant winner. While the album is strong on its own, I would encourage everyone to see Devours perform live should the opportunity arise. It’s truly where the soul of Escape from Planet Devours meets body.  — Shayna Bursey