Sunday, March 01, 2009

The Devils Are in the Details

A few days ago I picked up the reissue of the first two albums by Devils, a Korea rock band from the 1970s best known today for being the inspiration behind the movie GO GO 70'S.

Devils were a six-man band founded in 1969, and started playing in Itaewon bars like 007 Club and American Club, or sometimes played in Paju at the Paradise Club. They released their first album in 1971 and went on to record three more albums by 1977. The CD re-release that I bought includes the first two albums, along with a couple of bonus tunes.

There is not much information available about the band, though, and until the GO GO 70'S film, I think they were not really well known (even by the forgotten standards of Korean classic rock). You can read a bit about them in Korea here.

To be honest, this is not my favorite band from the era. They have some good songs, but nothing that really blows me away like Shin Joong-hyun's best stuff can. There is not any crazy guitars or heavy drums solos. No, most of the Devils songs were more straightforward rock, with the layering you would expect from a six-man band. I am not bashing them -- they certainly have some solid songs. I am just saying they are a little more sedate and modest than my favorite bands from the 1970s.

Also, there are a couple of cover tunes on the albums, such as a cover of Proud Mary. Strangely, one song is described as "Theme Sound From Shaft," but I hear few similarities between the song on the Devils album and the famous Isaac Hayes tune.

So call this an interesting album. Not a must-buy, but worth your time if you like listening to old Korean music.

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