Design By Humans
Published On: Tue, Mar 17th, 2015

DEVO: Miracle Witness Hour

devo liveDEVO
Miracle Witness Hour
(Indies Japan)

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Loud, spiked, wailing guitar under a walking bassline with nearly yelled vocals opens DEVO’s new release, Miracle Witness Hour. This 10-song album is a recording of a concert the band did at The Eagle Street Saloon in Cleveland, Ohio in 1977.

The sound quality here is a little rough with a growling low end, but the early punk sensibilities of the band are surely in solid evidence in songs like the kinetic “Uncontrollable Urge,” the poppy chorus bass-led “Mongoloid” (which gets a good crowd response at its opening) and of course the infamous “Jocko Homo,” with its mix of sci-fi weirdness, keys, drum snaps, burps, and that great “We are Devo” chorus.

Running clinky keys and a tight bass/drum attack (as close as this band would ever get to ’70s prog) begins “Timing X/Soo Bawls,” then we are into driving punk with a silly chorus of high voices from the boys.

There is a noisy “Secret Agent Man” cover here with wild flights on keys and the band chunking (this is where the sound quality of the recording kills the tune as the vocals are buried in the mix). “Smart Patrol/Mr. DNA” ends with its arpeggiated keys and snare march into the double vocal attack of this loud punk/pop anthem.

Mircale Witness Hour is a slightly rough recording, yet fun historical document of DEVO way back when.

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DEVO: Miracle Witness Hour