Song of the Day: Devo “Uncontrollable Urge” (Live)
New Wave phenomena, Devo, launched a precision strike on American audiences with this high energy, carefully choreographed live read of their single, “Uncontrollable Urge” on the classic comedy show Fridays. The band were clearly up for it, and had after a brief skit with one of the Fridays performers, they take the stage and deliver a furious start-stop read of their 1978 single (which also appears on their debut LP, Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!).
Devo are one of those bands that you either love or you hate. For me, their particular brand of alien, slightly ‘spergy and highly choreographed New Wave has always been a winner. The longer I spend during this COVID-19 Pandemic, trapped at home, the more I have an uncontrollable urge to crank the stereo and unleash Devo.
While their debut album (along with the newly unearthed Live at Max’s Kansas City recording) is a perfect distillation of the band’s signature sound, Devo would further refine its craft over time, adding increasing layers of synthesizers and complexity. While their music is deceptively simple, the start-stop and precise timings required the band to practice as a unit for many hours to carefully hone their craft. The combination of yellow boiler suits, goggles, a stiff affect and a highly calibrated though bone dry sense of irony has always made the band something of a cult favorite.