|Playing this album for the first time, I am immediately captivated by Deru’s charm. As a gorgeous opener, I Would Like is a French language acoustic ballad of the most startling kind featuring gentle guitar over a continuous backdrop of electronic static, and a children’s choir too boot. It is a gratifying start that promises great things. The second track I Want thankfully also delivers- a reworked version of the first track, it's more like a continuation featuring pulsating beats, fragmented keyboards and a child’s voice giving an almost alien effect reminiscent of Babylon Zoo’s 1996 hit Spaceman.|
Unfortunately, the rest of the album never quite comes close to reaching the heights of these first two tracks, and like so many electronic albums, lacks depth and soul. It aims instead to create atmospheric sound-scapes that evoke futuristic imagery, but for all its 'otherworldliness', it is often devoid of feeling or emotion. It might make a great film soundtrack, but as a standalone album, I find it difficult to recommend.
The problem is that most of these sound-scapes, such as Basically, Fuck You and Cottonmouth Lothario descend into dullsville at about the two minute mark, and Peanut Butter and Patience’s messy and fractured beats never allow for something cohesive to develop. The songs are complex, multifaceted and harbour some great ideas, but ultimately, their similarity to one another makes for a rather monotonous listening experience. Even the album’s standout tracks such as Walk, which recalls Portishead’s Undenied, and the clarinet driven Fadeaway, succumb to this same blandness.
I am not usually in the habit of suggesting vocals on mostly instrumental albums, but in this case I am sure that it would have been greatly beneficial. The aspects that made Deru’s peers such as Portishead and Massive Attack so extraordinary were often the vocals and without them Deru’s songs lack structure and organisation, droning on with little reward. Say Goodbye to Useless is not by any means a bad album and I suppose it possesses an ambience that may suit the hangover after a long night out, but otherwise it remains uninspiring. - The Dwarf