Review: Alice in Chains – The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here
Published on June 10th, 2013 | Jonny Abrams
First things first, The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here is a dreadful name for an album; clunkiness aside, it presupposes either that you haven’t encountered the Bill Hicks/various other switched-on people line of argument that the scientifically proven existence of dinosaurs makes a mockery of any religious text that doesn’t mention them…or that you do know about it and are supposed to guffaw along in recognition, as if it were some cheap catchphrase or other. This is pretty much by the by, though, so let’s get onto the decidedly more important aspect that is the music itself.
Alice in Chains’s second album since the death of front man Layne Staley and subsequent recruitment of William DuVall in his place, The Devil Put Dinosaurs boasts regular bouts of suitably monstrous fare. Opener “Hollow”, for example, strings familiar Alice in Chain hallmarks together with a fearsome authority that lets fly spectacularly with a blistering middle eight section illuminated by the kind of otherworldly vocal harmonies that have long since distinguished them from others in their – broadly speaking – field.
Whacking great title track aside, things get a bit lighter from thereon in – “Voices” is damned near jangle pop, while “Low Ceiling” is a good example of the disarmingly subtle songwriting flair on show – but, with only two songs clocking in at under five minutes, it can all feel a bit laborious. “Lab Monkey”, for instance, feels a bit ‘Alice in Chains’ by numbers, and the sparsity of surprises either musical or lyrical sees interest levels dip well below what you might have expected after hearing “Hollow”.
All in all, The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here is just about worthy of investigation, but you might find it a bit of a ‘wheat and chaff’ affair.
Rocksucker says: Three Quails out of Five!
The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here is out now on Capitol Records.