Most artists will, at some point, inevitably experience the embarrassment of having the nadir of their lives – public or private – documented for all to see. It, unfortunately, comes with the territory of living in the gossip-fueled, TMZ-obsessed world we now find ourselves inhabiting. All low-points and rock bottoms can and will be seen by the judgmental god that is the unblinking public eye. These artists are faced with the options of either slinking away shamefully and putting their careers into early retirements, or, courageously, they can embrace – warts and all – their darkest, most embarrassing moments and channel that negative energy into something creative.
Almost no artists have ever hit as devastating a low point as the members of Lostprophets.
No one would have blamed the ex-members of the group if they had decided to hang up their instruments and hide from the scrutinizing gaze of the public eye. They had, of course, just seen their 15 years of hard work as a band blow up in their faces when allegations surfaced that their lead singer, Ian Watkins, had secretly committed some of the most repugnant and evil crimes imaginable.
Despite the fact that years of their musical work were tarnished by their now incarcerated former front man – or perhaps because of it – these five Welsh musicians were compelled to continue making music. While a commendable decision, it would be a hard task to accomplish, as the Lostprophets as a brand was now forever tainted by Watkins. The question became how on Earth would musicians Jamie Oliver, Lee Gaze, Mike Lewis, Luke Johnson and Stuart Richardson get back into the world of music making?
Enter Geoff Rickly.
In the last few years, the former lead singer of Thursday – one of the most well-known and revered post-hardcore bands of the ’00s – had been experiencing his own professional and creative nadir. Thursday had disbanded in 2011 and – while he was still sporadically channeling his fury in the screamo power-violence supergroup United Nations – Rickly found himself in the ghastly grip of grief after a romantic relationship he was in ended.
On May 14, 2014, it was announced that Rickly would be joining the five ex-Lostprophets members in a new group named No Devotion. Rickly, in an interview with Radio Cardiff, said his new bandmates “needed a second chance.”
As fate would have it, Rickly himself needed a second chance.
Leaving behind the nu-metal sound of Lostprophets, and – to a lesser extent – Thursday’s post-hardcore vibe, No Devotion plunges Permanence for the majority of its 48-minute runtime deep into the chilly, turbid waters of ’80s Joy Division-inspired dark electro-pop. However, there are moments of airy, fuzzed-out shoegaze à la Stone Roses, and aural homages to the more buoyant tunes of ‘80s stalwarts The Cure and New Order that allow the band to rise above the depths of despair and bask in the light of redemption.