Smooth Devo

Album: Hoping It Stays Just This Broken (2007)

Artist: Immovable Objects

Label: self-released

Where available/price: M-Theory Records in Mission Hills for $10.99. Online at Amazon, iTunes, CDBaby, Digstation, Rhapsody, Napster, Ruckus, BuyMusic, Inprodicon, MusicIsHere, PayPlay, Target, Tonevendor, AudioLunchbox, GroupieTunes, Muze, and Tradebit for $10.99.

Songs: 1) Raindrops in Morning Traffic 2) Bad Judgment 3) Shut Up and Listen 4) Summer Is a Broken Heart 5) What? 6) I’m Not Depressed I’m Existential Rock 7) You Don’t Have to Go Home (But You Can’t Stay Here) 8) Raindrops in Evening Traffic 9) James Trent 10) Sheen

Band: Matt Gagin (vocals, guitar, keyboards, drums, electronic programming, bass, percussion, harmonica, recorder, whistles), Nicola Wilson (vocals), Aryn Grusin (vocals), Sean Taugher (drums, programming), Greg Gibson (guitar, vocals), Tim Peacock (bass), Shantih Beeman (trumpet), Mike Kamoo (effects)


Ignoring convention creates the possibility of both reward and peril. Immovable Objects’ electronic tones keep beat instead of drums, atmospheric vocals enchant, and keyboards plink out toy-piano noise. It’s almost as if Gagin took Devo, rounded off the hard edges, and (somehow) painted a watercolor sunset over the remnants, using Flaming Lips pink, and Postal Service blue.

While there’s a kinky pleasure to hearing something (good Lord, anything) except guys in T-shirts bang out the same song every band has ever played, there’s also a difference between expressing individuality and irritating the listener. Some of Immovable Objects’ electronics-laden tracks accomplish the latter.

Acoustic guitar and well-played bass ground the music, but when things settle into being comfortable and familiar, Gagin ramps up the reverb and special effects until it’s a muddled and sometimes fuzzy mess. I’m interested to see what the city’s notoriously mainstream crowd will do with this beautiful and strange offering.

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