I first heard Detroit’s Adult. when I listened to Pandora for a year with a single station seeded from the band Gina X. Performance. It played “Inclined To Vomit” and the aggressions was so overstated that it made me laugh compulsively. That was 2007 and I quickly found a copy of the “Why Bother?” album that the song came from and that seemed to be it for Adult. for several long years. They re-emerged six year later with another album and several since then. I have bought any Adult. I’ve run across since then and have a DL of the band’s track that was remixed by John Foxx + The Maths.
I almost saw them at Moogfest 2014, but they were on at the same time as Ejecta who were more exotic to me. I caught the last few minutes of their set. It seems that I missed them at another festival [Hopscotch?] that I’d attended due to scheduling conflicts [again!]. One day, maybe they’ll simply play at my city when I can go see them without festival conflict syndrome. I bought a 2xLP copy of “Anxiety Always” at a record store two years ago, but have not spun it. Now I have the CD [purchased at the same store] and I see that each format has an exclusive track.
#13 • Adult.: Anxiety Always US CD 
- The Cold Call
- Shake Your Head
- Glue Your Eyelids Together
- Blank Eyed, Nose Bleed
- Turn Your Back
- People, You Can Confuse
- Nothing Of The Kind
- Nervous (Wreck)
- We Know How To Have Fun
- Kick In The Shin
Adult. had at the time of this album, a rep for being part of the “electroclash” movement, which had superficial appeal to me even as I paid scant attention to it until it was over and possible to sift through the bones of it at my leisure. The earlier Adult. material sounded like a more synthetic version of another band I had called “The Fitness.” Nicola Kuperus vocal delivery had the same dry, declamatory tone which I loved but the band’s music was dryly pungent electronics. Always a happy-making thing in my world.
“Shake Your Head” shared a title and little more with the Was [Not Was] song. Unlike the ironic Ozzy-Osbourne-sung synthpop of the original, this tune was built out of the fat, minimal EDM of D.A.F. via their heirs apparent Nitzer Ebb. The repetitive sequencer lines lay down a hot foundation for the track that felt familiar and right. Let’s just say that the team up with Douglas McCarthy on last year’s excellent “Detroit House Guests” album was not a shock.
But though Ms. Kuperus’ delivery was always confrontational and harsh, the music was not always piling down on the listener. “Glue Your Eyelids Together” had the pop feel of early Soft Cell for a respite from the No Wave attack of the band. Elsewhere, I was detecting a lot of early DEVO DNA in the building blocks for these songs. Especially from the first two albums. “Blank Eyed, Nose Bleed” fairly dripped with the feel of tracks like “Blockhead” or “Mr. DNA.” I’ve been listening to a lot of that band lately so trust me on this. The closing “Kick In The Shin” [wonderfully illustrated on the back cover of the album] was built on an energy pulse familiar to any fans of Yello’s “Bostich.”
It warms my heart to hear the confrontational electronics of the band even at my advanced age. The deadpan, unemotional palette they employ will always work for me even as many of the “industrial” bands I used to listen to got the deep six from my Record Cell decades ago. This was an earlier effort from the band and their current sound is slightly less declamatory and is a more sophisticated used of electronics for Brechtian effect. I still need to get their “Gimme Trouble,” “The Way Things Fall,” and current album “This Behavior.” One hopes that I will be in a city and be able to see them perform live since the two minutes I heard at Moogfest 2014 sounded fantastic.
CONCLUSION: enjoy – keep buying more Adult.
“I’ve been listening to a lot of that band lately so trust me on this.”
Is a DEVO GPA on the docket, now that you finally bought Something for Everybody?
JT – You know it! I’m compelled to do these things. But I need a few things first for my purposes. Obviously that will take me the rest of my life to compile, but even if I just deep sixed the live stuff, there are a few vital titles there that are important:
• B Stiff EP
• Hardcore DEVO vol. 2
• Live: The Mongoloid years
• Pioneers Who Got Scalped
• Recombo DNA
• Live [Rhino Handmade]
• Miracle Witness Hour
• Something Else For Everybody
• Hardcore DEVO Live!
Hardcore 2 is the only truly essential purchase on this list.
Be Stiff’s six tracks have all been compiled elsewhere. Recombo DNA is a fascinating document for the Devo-ted, but ultimately it’s two discs worth of the would-be bonus tacks from dream DLXRMs of their first seven albums, compiled into one place. Pioneers does round up a few (mostly) 1990s-era odds and ends that they did for film soundtracks; enough that it’s required for Devo studio completists, but you’re not gonna play it often. Something Else… has a few nice out-takes.
I Love ADULT.
I got the first album,”Resuscitation” in around 2001 and continued collecting each release.
For me though,they have been a case of diminishing returns.I did manage to see them live in London several years ago,but to be honest I was not impressed.I love the coldwave/clinical sound,which is not as simple as it seems but it just didnt translate well for me in a concert.
Another absolute favourite band of mine,Xeno & Oaklander,do excite me in live gigs-they have an all-electronic and analogue set-up and are great live.
The first three ADULT. albums are great though,plus there are some good obscurities such as “Modern Romantics” and “Arcade” which I really enjoy playing.
ADULT. just came through Tampa last night…They were just brilliant chaos live!
Echorich – Yeah, I saw their tour dates. They were in the piedmont the week prior but I wouldn’t have gone even if I had known in time. I am marshaling my powers for Simple Minds!