The Death And Life Of Permanence

How No Devotion’s Debut Album Helped One Band Come Back From the Dead

Written by Adam J. Hough

Picture the scene: It’s 2013; the world is in shock as Ian Watkins, former lead singer of Lostprophets, has just been sentenced to 35 years in prison for innumerable counts of paedophilia, sexual assault on minors, and insurmountable drug charges. The world turns to anger at how his bandmates stood by and let this happen, little did everyone know they too were unaware of what this monster they called a friend was capable of, and could do to their own children.

Yet, within this fear and anguish, a project is born with the lead singer of New Jersey emo heroes, Thursday, Geoff Rickly. Few are aware of what is to come as the remnants of Lostprophets team up with Geoff, but in hushed whispers, go by the name “No Devotion”.

Then, in July 2014, they released their first single “Stay”, a poppy, post-hardcore anthem riddled with beautiful sweeping synths, Geoff’s haunting vocals and the bands new, more celebratory sound that allowed them to break away from the grungy darkness that Watkins had led the band into, and into what would become No Devotion’s signature sound. The band had made a small dent, for now, letting the world know that Lostprophets were dead, and No Devotion were here to take over. With the single out in the open, later that year in October, the band released single number two “10,000 Summers”, a neon fever dream of a single which still featured all of the signatures that the band had put into the original single “Stay” and some, delivering a crushing tidal wave of a chorus over sweeping guitar riffs that wouldn’t have gone out of place driving along Miami seafront in the sunset.

The singles had amped up the followers of this redemptive arc to a fever pitch, ready for the band’s debut album: Permanence.

Leading up to the release of the album, in January 2015, the band set off on a UK tour in support of My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way. Five months later, the band would then officially announce “Permanence”, releasing “Death Rattle” and “Addition” from the album shortly after. The later half of 2015 would become a fast paced blur for the band as they released “Permanent Sunlight”, the fifth and final single from the album, and played Reading and Leeds Festival to crowds beyond all their expectations.

Credit: Daniel Quesada

Permanence was finally released to the world in September 2015. “Permanence” was a beautiful creation that had elements of sex, power, and this intimate post-punk feel that had not been seen in decades, if not ever before by many. The presentation of the album shrouded in this sublime sub-gothic mystery, with the vinyl released of the debut album being followed up by a re-issue of the first two singles, in a gorgeous presentation box on black heavyweight vinyl. Geoff’s vocal range being allowed complete freedom to flow in and out like silk over curves, it became alluring and devastating. The crushing narrative of “Addition”, contrasting with the wide-eyed shimmer of opening track “Break”, cutting deeper than any other of his previous performances. The album was formidable, winning the 2016 Kerrang! Award for Best New Album and being met with incredible reviews from all over the rock and metal communities. The globe was enamoured with the band and the mystery that surrounded this incredible come back that no one expected. This unusually sensual sound that made you feel safe, but on edge at the same time.

And then suddenly… it disappeared.

Five singles and a phenomenal debut album later, and almost three years after No Devotion formed in the ashes of what was considered one of the most successful British alternative bands in recent times, the band all but vanished without a word, and no one had heard from them since.

On the outside, the band were visibly busy with other projects, most notably Geoff Rickly who reunited with Thursday, who subsequently went on to breakup yet again shortly after.

The world had all but forgotten about No Devotion…

That was until 2022.

There were mutterings in the dark and murmurs that a new album could be coming from a band that time should not have forgotten. The band then made a surprise announcement on 29th May, via their Facebook page, they would be going on tour in support of the release of their second album, and then, on the 6th of June, Permanence would be coming back to streaming platforms, finding a new home on Velocity Records and thus, coming back to life.

With half the original members returning, now a three piece, No Devotion have graced us with a new dark and sultry tale in “Starlings” and sophomore album “No Oblivion” is on its way to us on 16th September, but why is it important to look back? Why is “Permanence”, in my mind, an important piece of music history?

The album came from a place of true pain and tragedy, but refrains from indulging in it, instead it gave a group of wronged people a lifeline to continue doing something they loved without fear of persecution. Rickly even said himself that, “The band deserved a second chance,” and that’s exactly what he gave them. With his leadership and knowhow, he helped rebuild from the ground up, a terrific band into something that deserved to be more than a footnote with a fantastic album.

No Devotion is proof that there is redemption in the music industry. With “No Oblivion” due out in the coming months, the band can only follow on strong from what the debut created. Having known myself what it’s like to start all over again, Permanence is a true reminder of resilience in the face of adversity, whether it’s going from starting a completely brand new life for yourself, or clawing everything back from the jaws of despair, the band truly remained devoted to one thing that I had to too in my darkest moments.

That, simply, was hope: hope for a brighter future, free of pain.

20 Bands And Artists With New Music in 2019 You Should Keep An Eye On

By now, the hangover of 2018 should have long subsided, and 2019 should now begin to be as familiar to everyone as much as your work colleagues, classmates, or friends you go clubbing with, are. We’ve conversed, debated and voiced our collective opinions on what the best of the best of 2018 was, and ahead, we look into the eyes of 2019 longingly, yearning for continued musical excellence as this decade draws to a climax. So bearing that in mind, the site has put together 20 bands and artists bearing a variety of new musical fruit in 2019, that you should absolutely sample, and hopefully savour and find immense pleasure from.

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Randolph & Mortimer

History has gone to show it is infamous for remembering and celebrating the individuals and the cults of personality that have walked among us at one time or another. I’m sure that you really don’t need me to go above and beyond to name a few here, you could all name a handful of people off the bat. Their influence and importance of course relies entirely on you as a person, which is perhaps why I’d say it’s unfair to suggest that one person is of far greater importance than another. It’s all subjective. On the other hand, history has shown that it can be just as good celebrating couples and pairs. You may be a little harder pressed to name some off the bat, but I can give you a few of varying life paths. Bonnie and Clyde, Torville and Dean, Brad and Angelina, Elvis and Costello, Jack and Jill… You get the idea. The point is they’re all remembered for something, no matter their significance to you as a person. You’re aware of them regardless. At first glance of the pairing of Randolph and Mortimer, you could assume they operate as a construction firm, (like Gibbs and Dandy if you hail from the UK) or the surnames of serial killers, or war criminals. The truth kind of combines the two in some capacity. Dependent on how you label bankers and politicians.


The name actually derives from the film Trading Places, where two stock brokers, going by the names of Randolph and Mortimer switch places with two gentlemen in less fortunate social and financial circumstances, as an experiment to experience life on the other side. Which in today’s political climate we seem to be calling for a lot, to the governments and fat cats who more likely have never struggled in everyday social and financial situations. It certainly makes that name far more poignant. The Sheffield three-piece (yes, despite going under the moniker of a duo) practice a manifesto of condemnation and repulsion, punctuated by a series of electronically driven, industrial rallying movements. Powered by the analogue synths and percussive might of the 80’s, it only makes sense that visuals match the sonics, with wireframe silhouettes and what resembles Thatcherite Britain providing the backdrop for the ire unfolding. Most recent single Citizens isn’t so much a feast for the disenchanted, more a capitalist brainwashing broadcast if such an occurrence were to play out. Brought to a marching pace by booming snare hits and dampened synth arpeggios, the beat very much tribalistic in tempo and timbre, the checklist for what constitutes a valid member of society is rolled out, as well as quasi-motivational slogans in how to do so. A heavily distorted voice calls out in the distance, reaching indecipherable levels but certainly adds a touch of unease and morality to this otherwise calming instructional narrative. Later, a ferocious sawtooth synth wave cuts through the rhythm, near stopping it in its tracks, while a brighter counterpart, still as abrasive as its bass-heavy contemporary, layers atop before bringing the beat back and ushering in a new breed of arpeggios to meld with the originals. In the end, all of the individual synth lines piece together and play out increasingly chaotic percussion, to one last eerie inquisitive dialogue against a wall of noise. This is best experienced as an audio-visual sensation to truly get the best feel for the message Randolph and Mortimer wish to convey, but the music itself is just as an exciting head-trip in its own right. Though the political agenda is unmistakeable, these guys are producing stellar industrial in the veins of the old blood and will most likely not remain an underground sensation for much longer. History has every right to remember the constructs of these gentlemen.



Citizens has yet to see a release date, but no doubt will have a digital release at some stage in the near future. In the mean time, their $ocial £utures €P and single Enjoy More are available from their Bandcamp page, in addition to other singles and numerous remixes of theirs that can be found on most respectable music retailers.They are also playing the Saturday line-up on the main stage of Resistanz Festival 2016, but look out for a gig near you soon.

Go give them a great big high five:

And you’re more than welcome to give me a high five too if you so wish, through a like, follow or subscribing to the site:

The Soundshark’s Top 20 Songs of 2015

Something somebody said recently struck me as it made an awful lot of sense. Exactly when do you stop saying, ‘Happy New Year,’ to one another? Or at least when does it become acceptable at the least. I honestly don’t know, but for now, I’m still considering it an appropriate time to talk about my favourite songs of last year. Seeming I’ve made a habit of it, and I finally have time to sit down and write about them.

2015 was a challenging year as it more or less marked my transition from degree student to having to fend for myself. Sometimes it sucked, sometimes it didn’t. But something that I didn’t previously have was a companion, somebody that I hold very dear to me and somebody I look forward to what the future holds for the both of us. As such, she has had an impact on deciding this list, just as much as the rollercoaster of emotions I’ve gone through in the past year has. Like I’ve said before, I do these lists for biographical reasons, to show where I’ve been and what’s happened in years gone by. Music and memory are powerful things.

So my rules for the list are as follows: I don’t always pick songs from this year to put on the list, it involves literally anything I’ve listened to in the past year that I’ve enjoyed frequently enough (that said, there are a lot of 2015 entries on this list which makes a change), but I try to avoid putting more than one song by the same artist in. Some of my past lists had more than one or two. You can find them on Spotify if you want to.

I would like to make an honourable mentions list, but there were far too many to include on this year’s list, so I’ll skip that formality this time. Just so many good moments or songs to include the entire list. And if you would like to listen to this list uninterrupted, commentary-free, then head on over to the Spotify playlist instead.

Righty then, on with the show…

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The Maras

So the saying goes that there’s supposed to be no one you can rely on more in this world than your family. Some actually find resentment for their own family enough, pouring venom into the statement that you can’t choose your family, twisting the most important support network to you as a person, into nothing but bitter disdain. It must therefore be a fascinating statistic for the amount of families that are able to completely co-exist and co-operate without a hitch amongst one another. Music definitely is an adhesive that bonds people and their interests together, and family is no exception to this rule. After all, it works for King of Leon and they’re all cousins. It did work for the siblings of The Knife, before by their own admission, the creation of music and performing stopped being fun. It does however currently work for brothers Matt and Eric Mara whom after toiling and honing their floorfilling, pop-infected grunge bursts for five years, are finally releasing their works into the wider waking world. The unsuspectingly titled The Maras Go To The Mall! is their first long-player after a steady release of EPs earlier this year, squeezing the trigger hard for a myriad of aggressively charged bullets to the skull of modern rock. While you can claim that a lot of The Maras’ output revels in the sounds of the past, the breadth of those sounds and pure passion for music of decades gone has rejuvenated that spirit and goes as far to even sound brand new again, testament to their brilliance for writing hooks. Certainly from day one of hearing Ray’s Gun, that bass melody has been nothing but persistent in worming into my ear drums and burrowing deep into the pools of wax that lay within. But such is their talent that in just under two and a half minutes, they can pull off a near-perfect grunge-pit punch-up. Think the Pixies in a disco mood and you’re about there. Sound production has weaponised the drum beats so it carries across as a steady stream of bludgeoning projectiles, while the bassline calmly injects itself into your aural channel. Reminiscent of its era, monotone vocals seeped in reverb soon join the fray, still keeping a composed demeanour to the track. Vocals then take an anguished turn for the chorus and its contagious repetition, again keeping the instrumentation in a slightly numbed state, leaving just enough room to tease some tension for good measure. The mesmerising melody picks back up to start the cycle once more, coming back to that outrageously infectious chorus hook before jolting synth stabs take over and the bass slows the pace to a crawl and concludes. This is just one aspect of The Maras’ songwriting capabilities. Songs such as Church of Mad and Red Hair have far more fleshed out synth elements, and Texas Blood Thirst takes their angst to a far higher level. Ray’s Gun balances these both with just simplicity in structure and a killer series of hooks, and really that’s what The Maras excel at, writing bite-size tracks that have absorbed everything good from their respective 80’s record collections and translating it into a formula that hits your memory as hard as it does your eardrums. A true treasure awaiting discovery. Maybe that’s what the real value of family is..

The Maras Go The Mall!, single Muddy Susan and EP Welcome To Wax Beach are all available from their Bandcamp page for a very reasonable fee. Physical copies of The Maras Go The Mall were recently made available too on Bandcamp, so I’d recommend investing in a copy of that. The album is a real sleeper hit waiting to happen, that’s for damn sure.

Write them a love note of some description:

I am also welcoming of love notes too, but that’s entirely your choice:


Ghost Idols

Hundreds, probably thousands, probably hundreds of thousands of people on this planet claim that they have seen a ghost in their lifetime. But despite footage and images suggesting there may indeed be paranormal activity in this world, the subject still very much stays open for debate. People make fortunes out of it, however sincere or exploitative they may be. The jury is out for me personally. Some claims look more authentic than others, but until I kinda see or experience it for myself, my guess is as good as yours. Hello fate, I didn’t see you there! But whether you want to dispute the authenticity of LA’s Ghost Idols however, you’d be entirely foolhardy to do so. They are an anomaly, but purely because their sound doesn’t fulfil a ticklist for given genre conventions. There are nuances of many sounds absorbed into their matter, perhaps so many that the original sources are all but unrecognisable. Here’s what I can tell you. At its truest centre, Ghost Idols are at best a super heavy indie band, at times pouring enough fuzz and distortion onto a guitar to drown out a building demolition, while keeping the poppy vocal melodies and harmonies present, injected with force straight into your brain. Every second of a Ghost Idols song never misses a beat, there is always something switching or shifting around to demand your attention. Take Heathens from their self-titled EP from 2013. There’s a tirade of thunderous drums, meshing together with roughened chords and optimistic vocal tones that would sit well in Bloc Party’s back pocket, later going into a hardcore style breakdown harbouring a infectious kick pedal pattern, full buckshot-impact sludge guitar accompanying it. There’s even a lovely, understated little solo atop both bass and drums going hell for leather And if they aren’t switching up the texture of the sound, then they constantly switch the time signatures too. Literally every note has meaning and purpose on an unprecedented level. Ghost Idols, unlike ghosts themselves, are something you should fully believe in, as their adventurous sound is so versatile and dynamic, they should be heightened from underground dwellings to mainstream music acceptance.

Their self-titled EP is currently available on a pay-what-you-want basis for a digital copy, or a reasonable sum for a physical copy, as well as their most recent single Monsoons which can be bought on vinyl, all on their Bandcamp page. These guys are also recording an album right now, so any money given to them will be appreciated. They have a killer sound, they deserve it.