Thursday, 5 March 2009

Stef Reviews... Kevin Devine - Brother's Blood

Kevin Devine, as I've mentioned before, is a fantastic singer songwriter from Brooklyn, New York. He's pretty much best friends with Brand New and Manchester Orchestra (His last album, Put Your Ghost To Rest, was reissued on Brand New's record label, Procrastinate! Music Traitors), and he releases album after album of clever, catchy indie rock songs. New album Brother's Blood follows this trend fantastically, whilst also treading darker, more epic, territories not previously heard.

The record kicks off with "All Of Everything, Erased", a simple sombre number that sets the tone of the record fantastically; dark, but catchy enough to whistle along to. This eventually subsides into "Carnival", an early highlight to the record. If it's possible to channel the spirit of blue album/pinkerton era Weezer into a song, then it's been done here, the song ambles forward in an almost lazy fashion, before all of a sudden, around the four minute, some absolutely genius backing vocals that sound like a party casually speaking the same lyrics that Kevin is singing, suddenly burst into a huge group vocal build up, screaming "you'll clutch your chest, and whisper oh no, what will i do", before the song suddenly lulls you into a false sense of security, before a wonderfully ramshackle ending, that leads fantastically into the second highlight of the record, previous limited edition single "Another Bag Of Bones", renamed here as "Time To Burn".

This song was amazing in it's original form, all insightful lyrics, and withdrawn muted guitars, but this version takes the song to it's limit, adding drums, bass and a brilliantly ethereal ending to affairs to truly create one of Kevin Devine's best songs so far. The song also has a bit of a "Jesus Christ" vibe to it (see: Brand New).

The vibe gets a bit more laid back with "Hand of God", a hand clap laden folkier song, that gives the listener a well deserved break before the absolutely epic "Brother's Blood", a guitar filled song, that features vocals that are absolutely filled to burst with emotion, and culminates in a huge ending, filled with guitar solos to order. "They don't need to know about my brother's blood" Kevin sings, with an almost defeated tone as the song fades away. Brilliant.

Other high points of the album are the wistful "It's Only Your Life", and the fantastically upbeat "I Could Be With Anyone", and the second half of album feels like a much calmer beast than the first half due to these more chilled out songs, which acts as a nice come down after the feel of the first five tracks.

For those of you who like Brand New, this guy is a must-hear. For everyone else...same rules apply.

You won't regret it!

Brother's Blood is released on April 28th via Favourite Gentleman Records.

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