Permanence is the debut album from Welsh/American quintet No Devotion, featuring Geoff Rickly of United Nations/Thursday, and four chaps from the South Wales music scene that you may or may not have heard of from a previous band.
‘Break’ opens the album with layers of pulsing synths and electronic drums, Rickly crooning seductively over the top while guitars weave in and out amongst the “Don’t want to see you break” refrain, before ‘Permanent Sunlight’ flips the stylised sinister tone on it’s head with a melody ripe for the summer that has just passed. Debuted at the Reading and Leeds festivals in August, the track retains the same positive energy it echoed live, marking an early stand out for Permanence and a song you are bound to be at least humming for the rest of the day.
‘Why Can’t I Be With You’ continues the darker vein established in the opening track and ‘Eyeshadow’, luscious synths and guitars combining to create a wall of sound that few achieve successfully whilst maintaining the character of each layer, complimenting Stu Richardson and Alex Newport’s production like an instrument in its own right. ‘10,000 Summers’, meanwhile, lifts spirits back up in melody, contrasting the stark lyrics detailing happy thoughts of a forgotten past, “Though its getting dark remember this will pass”, a battle cry that just about anyone can relate to.
No Devotion’s first single, ‘Stay’, appeared in late 2014 with absolutely no build up beyond a tweet from Daniel P Carter and a year later, mixed with the whole record, it still sounds just as fresh and exciting, while ‘Addition’ is one of the best songs ever written by any of the members in any of their other projects, hands down. ‘Grand Central’ is the six-minute epic that anyone who has seen No Devotion at one of their live dates will be familiar with as the set closer. The scale sweeping synth lead is immediately recognisable as it makes way for an apocalyptic climax where every person involved clearly gives everything they’ve got left in their collective barrel.
There is no denying that No Devotion had a tough beginning, but what a way to come out on top: a phenomenal record that will hopefully pave the way for a few more releases. Permanence is by no means perfect, but like any band cutting their teeth, the first album rarely is. Everybody should take a moment to appreciate Permanence and what it took for the band to make it happen, and they deserve every ounce of praise aimed in their direction.