Thanks to some great bands like Minneapolis’ Uranium Club and Massachusetts’ Urochromes, the term ‘Devo-core’ seems to be popping up more and more recently. Although many of the bands getting tagged with the Devo-core label have been around for years, it seems to have become much more prevalent in recent months. So, what actually is this new(ish) genre?
As the name suggests, bands falling under this label owe a big debt to Devo — the band that bridged the gap from hardcore into new wave. In the ’70s and ’80s, Devo and other Midwestern bands dealt in the fringes of hardcore, eschewing the traditional speed and aggro of the genre.
Today’s Devo-core bands uphold the willingness to experiment and the satirical instincts of those earlier bands, coming up with new and exciting approaches to punk. Stylistically, bands run the full gamut from Lumpy and the Dumpers’ raging hardcore to the garage sounds of Nova Scotia’s Booji Boys to the more polished Uranium Club while still falling under the loosely defined label of Devo-core.
The main thing all of these bands have in common is weirdness — weirdness in spades. In Vancouver, the genre is represented by synth-punk outfit Hygiene (whose album Hypocrite is reviewed here) — a band definitely not lacking in weirdness.
It’s a label Hygiene actively claims, with singer Kevin mentioning reading articles on Devo-core and “getting a little upset that that’s real trendy because I’ve been wanting to do that band since I was, like, 15. And I was like, ‘Gotta get on this train real quick.'”
He adds, “Devo is my favourite band in the world and there, obviously, you have a wide range of not-so-synthy and [synthy] stuff.”