Devin Townsend - Infinity

Y’know, Townsend is a refreshing change. Currently, the industry is helping the troubled stars who can’t accomplish what they set out to make a career of, by ensuring that they don’t have to write those couple of extra tracks every few years for the b-sides to their singles. So Townsend goes and releases his third album in little over a year.

Most “stars” tell us how tortured they are as well, while relaxing and sticking their feet up in some plush hotel during touring. That arduous tour. And that they say they are tortured, well, that’s all that’s needed isn’t it. Cos man, they are real. Townsend does something about it. We all know that he booked into a psychiatric clinic in order to attempt to redress the problems that he felt.

And most bands make a career out of one sound these days. Maybe it’s a chord. Maybe it’s an anguished scream. Maybe it’s a singular plea for the lifting of their real torture. Townsend produces albums which veer all over the shop. You may hate the sound Strapping Young Lad produce. But if you judge anything else he works on by that very sound, well do the words “judgmental, prejudice and narrow minded” mean anything to you? I mean, Ocean Machine was nothing like SYL.

Which is all my misguided attempt at some pre-review insight into things here. At the end of the day it means nothing. It comes down to the music doesn’t it? Yes, it does. And once more, the man has delivered yet another album which might not exactly allow you to pin him down, but yet again provides for fascinating listening. So where does this album fit? Good question. Well, I mean, it’s heavy. Yet it’s progressive. Yet it’s got pop hooks and the kitchen sink thrown in. It’s also got, shh, say it quietly, a track (Christeen) co-written with Ginger from Da Wildhearts. It’s also, unfortunately, got Townsend doing the airbrushed androgynous thing on the cover. Put it like this, if you’re into heavy stuff, it’s probably got something to appeal to every denomination. Which means that if you can’t accept other styles, then as well as something to appeal to you, it’s got something to repulse you.

This album just throws everything at you. It's a wall of noise without it being overly distorted in say the manner that the last Wildhearts album was. Queen mixed with NIN maybe? And, it's so familiar. There are so many times when you find yourself going "I know that bit, damn, what is that bit from?". It happens for instance at the beginning of Wild Colonial Boy. And it's mad. System of a Down have a competitor for maddest sound of the year in the shape of Ants, which comes across to me as something like the Cardiacs.

Time to overcome those prejudices again. Townsend makes it easy for you, in a difficult manner. Bipolar I believe is how he described the condition which he sought treatment for. Bipolar seems to describe his music as well.

Thank God for people like Townsend.

Available on Century Media