The Devils - Beast Must Regret Nothing (Cover Artwork)

The Devils

Beast Must Regret Nothing (2021)


Most years I’ve got a few albums that I can tell within the first listen or two they’re going to become year-end favorites. Italian trashy garage rock duo The Devils (whose name was inspired by the notorious 1971 Ken Russell film) released a couple of those in 2016 and 2017. The band sounded like the White Stripes if everything was turned up to 11, Meg sang most of the songs, and they were into blasphemy and S&M instead of Citizen Kane and songs that could later be co-opted as Jock Jams. (Don't @ me, Jack White fans. His reverence for Fun House tells me his heart is in the right place.) I'd heard a song I dug on Al Quint’s Sonic Overload show and took note of their name, but it was almost a fluke that I found the first record at Amoeba in LA. It was released on Swiss label Voodoo Rhythm, and while it’s not rare, it does seem like copies in the US are relatively hard to come by.

Towards the end of 2021, I was actually drawing a blank on what those albums might be, until I stumbled onto Beast Must Regret Nothing from some stranger’s response to a “what are your favorite albums this year?” post. Somehow The Devils had managed to fly this one under my radar for almost six months, despite it being their most accessible album, being released on a presumably more widely-distributed label (Italy’s Goodfellas), and including the involvement of widely recognized alternative rock band-hoppers of the past few decades Alain Johannes and Mark Lanegan.

This is the first Devils album to crack the 30 minute mark, and they’ve definitely found suitable ways to branch out to justify the extra time. Single “I Appeared to the Madonna” has a bluesy swing, an organ, and a call and response chorus that provides a pretty jarring contrast to the earlier albums, where all the vocals might have been recorded in the pits of hell. (This one’s maybe more of a church revival in hell.) The Mark Lanegan-sung “Devil Whistle Don’t Sing” reminds me of the Bad Seeds at their most tongue-in-cheek, with lyrics that sound inspired from some 19th century Puritanical horror story. The thumping beat and ghostly blend of guitar noise and backup vocals on “Devil’s Tritone” are almost danceable.

That’s not to say there aren’t still some rippers though. Instrumental intro “Roar” sounds like it’s welcoming you to a psychobilly album, and the one-line, one-chord monster of a chorus on “Life Is a Bitch” could level any punk show crowd.

As far as I know, The Devils haven’t played any shows in the US yet (although I did find a record of a few stray Canadian dates), but I’ll definitely be looking forward to it when they do. Get In Front of Me, Satan.