Bearing this in mind, it's an oddly fitting irony that after waiting for two years, a more conventional pause, before releasing a new album that fatigue has set in. The roots of the problem go all the way back to the beginning. Fevre refuses to say how much of his music is old and how much is new, going so far in one interview as to say doing so would be 'like describing how I make love to a woman—some things must remain private' (!). But, on the evidence of 28 Later, you strongly feel that his original impulse is beginning to run its course. I hate to say it, but Black Devil is beginning to feel like a one trick pony.
That trick, while it lasted, was amazing, and that's why it is so frustrating to line up the first two albums against this one. Faster songs 'Open the Night' and 'Is Sorrow' are rendered hollow by earlier efforts like 'The Devil in Us' or 'Follow Me'. If you removed the familiar spasms and effects from 'Free for the Girls' and 'For Hoped', they could pass for the output of any number of quirky modern disco producers, such as Headman. And while 'With Honey Cream' has the trademark Black Devil kick drum, weird sirens and arpeggiated bassline, it's nowhere near as camp or as entertaining as its predecessors.
Playing live has clearly had an impact on Black Devil's music; Eight Oh Eight sounds like it's intended to get clubbers who are off their head further off their heads. It will be effective at doing that, certainly, but it does so at the expense of what made his past work so good. Disco Club and 28 Later sounded ghostly—from the past, and yet also from the future. Even after the production was cleaned up on 28 Later, Black Devil maintained a cheap and analogue lilt that sounded utterly unique. That has, for the most part, gone.
Eight Oh Eight instead feels like somebody has found the blueprints of a Black Devil track and made some pretty fair copies. They've been made by people who firmly understood the meat and bones, but forgotten that indescribable thing that transforms Black Devil's music into something (literally) extraordinary. There's been a lot of speculation this is going to be Black Devil's last album. Perhaps that's for the best.