July 21, 1980 12:00 PM


Devo has gone the way of so many radicals. The Ohio group were seen as cranky, ultraprogressive weirdos when they arrived in the late 1970s. Then the mechanistic Devo sound, with its pulsating, sometimes fibrillating beat and declamatory singing style, became the New Wave norm. The result: Devo’s debut album (Q: Are we not Men? A: We are Devo!) no longer seems preposterous. It was obviously seminal. But assimilation has robbed the self-proclaimed “beautiful mutants” of uniqueness, and they’re now flying on pure craft. This new album is better than last year’s dizzy, uneven Duty Now for the Future because Devo has found a new mission, however humble: to make highly efficient dance music with tunes like Whip It, Don’t You Know, That’s Pep! and Planet Earth. Still, it is mainly the band’s past that merits Devotees.

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