For many people, their first exposure to the music of While Angels Watch, the project of London based musician Dev, came in 2002 with the release of Dark Age on the French label Cynfeirdd. However, their story is much longer than that, Dev having been involved in the post-punk scene back as far back as the early eighties. 2016 is actually the band’s thirtieth anniversary, and to mark the event, they are releasing their first album of new material in a dozen years.
Aside from being plagued by production and other issues, one of the reasons that recording Interregnum has taken such a long time is that the music relies heavily on acoustic instruments played live rather than sampled. While there are a number of guest contributors (including some who have worked on the band’s previous releases), Dev himself provides the bulk of the instrumentation, meaning that recording required dozens of takes and cautious editing to create something that met the artist’s exacting standards.
Intriguingly, this slow, demanding process has revealed a rawness and immediacy to While Angels Watch that wasn’t quite so apparent in earlier releases. It’s not a massive shift, of course, so long-suffering fans who’ve been patiently waiting for a new album will doubtless be thrilled with this one. It’s more akin to the differences in Joy Division between Unknown Pleasures and Closer, but in reverse.