Given the theory of de-evolution these Ohio brainiacs began expounding more than 30 years ago, it makes a sad kind of sense that Devo's first album since 1990's Smooth Noodle Maps offers such a charmless, base-level version of the band's synth-addled new wave. If humanity is getting dumber by the moment, as Devo have been telling us since long before the Real Housewives franchise proved it, then it turns out that Devo themselves aren't immune to the trend.
The problem isn't Something's sound — though the album has production input from next-gen hipsters like Greg Kurstin and Santi White, it adheres to the sharp-angled electro-punk of such original-issue classics as Freedom of Choice. And masterminds Mark Mothersbaugh and Gerald Casale still have plenty of arresting ideas about consumer culture — the interactive promotional campaign surrounding Something is pretty brilliant. But none of those ideas appears to have made its way into the shrill, half-baked songs, which for the most part lack the hooks that would sell the ideas. (If indeed they were there to be sold.) The result isn't funny-annoying — it's just annoying. Devo win, I guess?