When No Devotion’s first single literally dropped out of nowhere on the last day of June 2014 — with the help of BBC Radio 1’s much-loved Rock Show — it’s safe to say that most of the world was caught off guard. Geoff Rickly, the Brooklyn-based former Thursday frontman, had been keeping busy in the public eye with his politically satirical punk outfit United Nations, but there was no inkling that he had been working on anything else — much less a new band with the former musical base of Lostprophets, one of the UK’s most successful rock bands of the decade. Yet “Stay” delivered a widescreen debut for the band, making its way onto the Official UK Charts, and the band rounded out the year with a second single, two UK tours (including one with Rickly’s old friend Gerard Way), and the promise of a full-length album. That part, it seems, took a little more time than they imagined. The end result is Permanence — an album as ambitious and expansive as its name suggests.
Mixed by Dave Fridmann (The Flaming Lips, MGMT, Cut Copy, Thursday) and produced by Stuart Richardson and Alex Newport (Bloc Party, Frank Turner, The Mars Volta), this is the sound of a band not only liberated from their pasts, but perhaps liberated by them: Slates thoroughly cleaned, No Devotion have refined those early flirtations with nostalgic pop-noir to find themselves at the intersection of post-punk heart and contemporary tricknology. Its subject matter still bleeds with equal measures longing and satisfaction; in the same way that he did in Thursday, Rickly revels in the anxiety and relief. But ultimately, Permanence is about the mark that’s left after the bleeding: It’s something new, something unpredictable, something there to remind you.