Album Reviews

Album Review: Ed Devane – Room Full of Empty People

Ed Devane – Room Full of Empty People

Swearing to review everything Irish that comes my way is both a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing because I can find excellent new sounds like P.A.L.A.S. or LotusEater, and a curse because sometimes you get to hear things that you don’t like, and don’t appeal to you in any way.

Ed Devane’s latest EP, Room Full of Empty People, is unfortunately one of those records I don’t like. With dubstep taking off thanks to James Blake, this could well find an audience. That audience is not me. Described by Ed as “Four tracks of agitated dancefloor music that will warm up amplifiers and eardrums alike”, this is a grimey collection of four disjointed tunes, which are impossible to connect with, and will warm no amplifier nor eardrum.

It’s a mishmash of unconnected sounds and beats, with ‘Squib’ being a live recording of a gritty bass and drum melody. It’s fuzzy at best, and never brings the listener in. It’s a relentless series of clashing sounds, and is, like most of the EP, forgettable. ’2c-me’ is the best of what’s on offer, but even that I have no desire to return to.

Unfortunately, this EP isn’t for me. Countless others may find something they like, but I am not one of them.

[xrr rating=1/5]

Sample:

’2c-me’

‘Squib’

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7 Comments

  1. C

    While it is admirable to attempt to review ‘everything’ this all-inclusive approach can result in the reviewer stretching a little, in this case making obvious that there is a serious lack of critical context available to the reviewer ie if ‘James Blake’ and ‘dubstep’ are the only references that you have then you aren’t really in a position to assess this type of material.

  2. That’s fair enough. I also said that was why it wasn’t for me, on multiple occasions. But finding good music in other genres you’re not familiar with is something everyone should aspire to. I just didn’t think this was good, regardless of genre.

  3. prun

    who’s James Blake?

  4. C

    But the issue is that usually a reviewer speaks from a position of authority, imparting their objective opinion based on contextual awareness of other relevant material. Sentences such as ‘With dubstep taking off thanks to James Blake, this could well find an audience’ display a comical misapprehension of contemporary electronic music. You mention that it’s ‘not for you’ a subjective statement that is absolutely fair enough but my issue is that you then contradict this opinion-based stance by stating that it’s just not ‘..good regardless of genre’, which seems like a damning indictment based on a clear understanding of what would be deemed good in this area. [Pro tip: this area has about as much to do with dubstep (which took off in about 2002-2005, not now with James Blake) and James Blake (Blake's new work is only tangentially related to dubstep) as it does with Britney Spears]

  5. Thanks for the well-reasoned response C. You make good points, and I will try to defend my review by stating that I know that dubstep and the modern Blake-dubstep aren’t one and the same thing, but for many people who read this blog (where up til now you’d have been more likely to see a Britney Spears review than a Benga and Skream one), so for them dubstep essentially may as well be James Blake.

    This EP wasn’t for me, but not because I’ve never heard a proper dubstep album before, but because I didn’t think it was good. I may not be an avid dubstep fan, but then again neither would the majority of my readers.

  6. C

    Fair enough, I don’t agree with your assessment of the EP in any way but I accept that you’re trying to write a review appropriate to your blog.

  7. Thanks for seeing where I’m coming from. If you would like, I’d love you to write a guest review of it to contrast with my own, if you’re interested.

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