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.
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.