Blesok no. 101-102, November-December, 2015
Sound Reviews

DEVASTATIONS: Once We Were All Warriors!

Mehmed Begić


Translation from Bosnian by Elizabeta Bakovska

    I have been to Berlin several times. The last memory is of a small hotel in which I stayed, half-secretly, without informing the acquaintances that I was there. I needed silence, escape, I needed to take some distance from everything and from myself, and still be close to some old friends, love and the forgotten yearning, in case my loneliness becomes unbearable.
    A hotel in the vicinity of Karl-Marx-Straße. How can I interpret this except as a good sign. Neukölln is a pleasant area. Lively. I can not define its action, but I don't want to. I came to remain a foreigner because I'm leaving in couple of days. It's not cold. The hotel room had a strange ceiling, because I was in the attic.
    I play some music. Devastations. The more recent immigrant scene of Berlin, I thought jokingly. As if wanting to put myself to sleep, I list the albums created in Berlin and inspired by Berlin: Lou Reed – Berlin, David Bowie – Heroes, Iggy Pop – The Idiot, U2 -- Achtung Baby, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Your Funeral… My Trial and, of course Einsturzende Neubauten – 1/2 Mensch…
    So much time after Reed, Pop, Bad Seeds: Devastations! Just as good, just as hypnotizing. The Devastations on their first album. The article is lost on the other two. Everything else remained, fortunately, not devastated, because they got better with each new album. Too bad that they only recorded three. The song Under is the anthem of my small and unusual hotel room. I will never fall asleep.



    I have never been to Australia. The first association that I have of it is the movie Proposition. I am lying; Nick Cave is my first association, while this movie out of the factory of now life-long collaborators, the director John Hilcoat and the unavoidable Cave is second. When I think of Australia, I remember New Zealand and the ingenious film, Once Were Warriors which I think I will watch again when I finish this text.
    A know a bit about Devastations. Three friends -- Tom Carlyon, Hugo Cran, Conrad Standish started to work in the new formation and moved to Berlin, after which their former band Luxedo, passed away. Three albums later, only two friends remained, but not Devastations. Standish/Carlyon moved to London and there they recorded the album Deleted Scenes. I will speculate what happened next. They scattered, one after another, from Melbourne to Berlin, from London to Melbourne, everybody to his since and everybody for himself.
    This story is not so strange. It is clear that we bring ourselves into everything that touches us and in this way we distort the reality with our experience. Even when we are certain in our own objectivity. Sometimes it is good, sometimes it is not. That is what they say that there is no single truth. Although I will never stop fighting for a truth. Not denying the corners the right to see things in another way.
Previous Crimes


    From the first listening, Devastations sounded somehow too good to last. I wish I were wrong when I felt this. I wish they had not reminded me of life. Although I still hope that they would surprise me. As if I did not know that we simply grow out of some things, everything else is in vain when what has been spent is missing, the core of the moment, the passion that happens and lasts. Until it disappears. And that is it. When t burns to the end, you move on. If you are brave enough, sometimes you turn.
    Once can not learn from one’s mistakes They are part of our lives. Just as the real moves. And we are as we are. What is our mistake at one moment is not in another. There is a thin line of non-existence and our actions evolve just as we ourselves. And some mistakes are juicier than countless real moves. Especially if we see life through moments. And passion. If we manage to take away the yearning for eternity from love. Because love would like to last. It is like that. It makes it as it is.
    On the stage, Devastations looked like three young Cave-s. They were raw material in combination with the gentle, poets of the rock-n-roll with all of their shortcomings. Just like that, but a bit better, they were described by another Australia’s hero, Rowland S. Howard. They had the honour to perform with him, and they recorded two songs together: Autoluminescent and Ocean, a song that was originally on the last position of side B of Lou Reed's first album. The last on A side is, how symbolic, Berlin.
   Sex and Mayhem:

Masters of Silence

    There are days when the sun does not want to wake us up. The eyelids are heavy as if they keep the windows of the old buildings where the nights last but for few hours. If the lids are open, the looks might burn the universe. The stars of the moment explode while the story takes its final shapes, when the words become too much, and the melodies self-destruct.
    The Australians like to write with silence in their thoughts, said Standish. Devastations dealt with silence – added Howard and continued – Holes, big enough and empty enough to fill in the Grand Canyon. Silence and how to fill it in. And what to fill it in with, and when? And the reply to this last part of the riddle is the song. The song too is the part in which Devastations perform.
    Oh, Australia, do you remember Rowland S. Howard and his fronts? Boys Next Door, Birthday Party, Bad Seeds, Crime and the City Solution. Lydia Lunch, how is he in your memory? Australia, thank you for him and the dingo, thank you for Devastations and the Aborigines. They were all warriors once.
    Take you Home

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