Thursday 3 April 2008

DeVotchKa - A Mad And Faithful Telling

DeVotchKa - Transliterator

DeVotchKa for anyone who's read A Clockwork Orange means 'little girl' in Nadsat, Burgess' slang language. The Eastern roots of this word are fitting for this four piece band who, whilst playing music with Romani, Slavic and Mariachi influences, actually hail from Denver. They originally worked as a backing band for burlesque shows apparently, working with Dita Von Teese. Recently they have received a little boost after providing much of the soundtrack to last years indie hit Little Miss Sunshine, as well as riding on the recent wave of enthusiasm for groups like Gogol Bordello.

Their new album has plenty of Gogol Bordello's energy but also something a little deeper. On several tracks lead singer Nick Urata shows a much softer and more involving side which provides something beyond the kitsch appeal of gypsy-punk. On tracks like Along The Way and Undone I was reminded of Radiohead's Thom Yorke, a comparison to which he doesn't match up obviously, his voice a little strained, but there's no doubting the sincerity. Elsewhere there is vibrant playing of instruments like the bouzouki and sousaphone as well as the trumpet and violin by the other band members which really bring tracks like Basso Profundo and Comrade Z to life. In fact the album is musically really interesting, blending the eclectic influences rather than wearing them as badges of recognition and, with tracks like Transliterator and New World, at times hitting the same eclectic heights of Arcade Fire.


John Self 3 April 2008 at 12:57  

Well now. I bought this sight unseen on iTunes upon reading an insanely enthusiastic review in the Observer Music Monthly which suggested, approximately, that it was several times better than Pet Sounds, Revolver and Hunky Dory put together.

Nowhere did they mention that it sounds like Hungarian bouzouki players and I was so shocked by all the East European fiddle-de-dee music that I haven't listened to it since.

From now on please time your music reviews to coincide with overenthusiastic puff pieces in the OSM. Thanks you!

Max Cairnduff 6 October 2010 at 11:38  

Interesting review. I've been relistening to Gogol Bordello recently, and some Les Negresses Vertes, how is this one holding up for you two years on?

William Rycroft 6 October 2010 at 11:58  

Of course I haven't listened to this one in ages. I shall dig it out and let you know.

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