Ever find yourself sitting there asking “What the hell did I just see?”
Like that time you watched Blue Velvet for the first time after dropping three tabs of Orange Sunshine.
Or drank in the video for Starcrawler’s “Bet My Brains” after going down a post-Blue Velvet YouTube rabbit hole that, following three horse tranquilizers, started with revisiting Frank Booth’s “Love letter” soliloquy in the workyard.
Or took another hit on the bong while having your mind warped by “harold snepsts at dave schultz kings”, which, for some entirely unfathomable reason, is set to what sounds like a ’50s jazz 45 that’s been left in the sun for three days and then played on 33 through a 1920s phonograph.
Add “Yoshi’s Revenge” by Devours to the above blue-ribbon list.
The last time we heard from Vancouver-via-Nanaimo artist Jeff Cancade in his Devours guise he was tackling big issues—everything from sexuality to self-esteem—with 2019’s Iconoclast.
Since then, he’s been nothing if not ambitious, including releasing a side project record last year under the name of The Golden Age of Wrestling. Somewhere along the line he began using his COVID-19 downtime to write and record a double album called Escape from Planet Devours, which heads our way in mid-May.
From Pink Floyd’s The Wall to Hüsker Dü ’s Zen Arcade, there’s a reason artists make double albums: they’ve got a story to tell, and need a sprawling canvas on which to do so. That’s seemingly the case with Escape from Planet Devours, which will be released on Cancade’s own surviving the game imprint.
In announcing the record, the artist sets things up with: “The double album is heavily inspired by mid '90s action blockbusters, such as Speed, True Lies, and Die Hard with a Vengeance. I didn’t have any gay action stars to look up to when I was young, so I transformed into one for this album cycle. Thematically, the albums are both about escaping - from mainstream culture, impossible beauty standards, depression, isolation, aging, and masculinity. It’s also about feeling hopeless as a musician in Vancouver and battling to stay afloat.”
But back to the reason that we’re here today: the video for “Yoshi’s Revenge” off Escape from Planet Devours.
After a bit of misleading advertising (unless Universal truly did bankroll things), we get a hint Cancade might once again be using songwriting as a form of therapy. Hence the song’s opening lines: “It’s official/We need to break up/I gave you head, I gave you space/But I’ll never replace your true love”.
And then things get mondo, mondo trippy. As Cancade sits there chugging energy drinks and hoisting mini-barbells, the screen behind him is a channel-surfer's fever dream.
Buckle in for a tribute to Speed, seemingly reimagined by the Doodlebops via Troma Studios. The midday parking lot raves located somewhere south of Gothville, U.S.A. Eighties sitcom footage where the only thing that’s missing is the Prodigy’s “Smack My Bitch Up” blaring on the vintage Pioneer stereo. Grainy "Just Say No" cartoon action that, in the same way as the immortal Sarah T.—Portrait of a Teenage Alcoholic, make you want to say “Fuck yes!!”
And, well, you should get the idea by now. Watch in wonder, knowing there’s really no way to answer the question “What did I just see?”
You can advance order Escape from Planet Devours here.