Lucid Culture

JAZZ, CLASSICAL MUSIC AND THE ARTS IN NEW YORK CITY

CD Review: Devi – Get Free

The debut cd by this Hoboken, NJ power trio is a throwback to the 80s when the major labels were still signing good bands. This album has pretty much everything a band ought to deliver: catchy, melodic songs, gorgeously soaring vocals from Debra their frontwoman/guitarist, killer musicianship and a centerpiece that’s a genuine classic. But first and foremost this is a feast of good guitar: incisive, wickedly smart solos, contrasting textures, and dynamic shifts that run the gamut from slyly amusing to harrowingly beautiful. While the rhythm section clearly has a fondness for prog-rock, they keep things tight and terse

 

The cd kicks off with Another Day, replete with Runaways-style bad-girl sensuality. The second cut, When it Comes Down, a concert favorite, starts pensive and apprehensive, slowly crescendoing to a long, thoughtful, bluesy solo reminiscent of Robin Trower when he was good way back in his Procol Harum years. It ends with a hook that sounds straight out of a Nektar art-rock suite, but is actually original to the song. In case you might assume that the cover of Runaway here is a throwaway, don’t – it’s got the one of the best solos on the cd. Howl at the Moon, which follows, has the feel of a hit single, its catchy minor-to-major melody spiced with tasteful acoustic slide guitar against washes of organ.

 

The next song, whose title is the chemical formula for heroin, builds from pensive to crunchy and metalish riff-rock capped by long solo that starts out thoughtful and takes its time getting ferocious before ending gentle and acoustic. By contrast, Demon in the Sack starts out fierce and hardcore before its riff-rock chorus, poking fun at gender stereotypes and sexual politics. The high point of the cd is Welcome to the Boneyard, a wrenchingly beautiful ballad sung from the point of view of a ghost whose body lies buried in the smoking pile of rubble at Ground Zero after 9/11, vocals soaring against gorgeously watery guitar chords.

 

The cd’s title track echoes the brooding feel of When It Comes Down, with strikingly textured acoustic and electric guitars. All That I Need is a showcase for sweet slide guitar plus some nifty electric piano to change up the mood a bit. Love That Lasts begins sad and bluesy with clarinet from jazz great Perry Robinson and finally turns into something like a reprieve for the band: forced to behave like purists for almost the entire duration of the album, there’s a long, relaxed blues/metal guitar solo and finally the drums go totally apeshit, John Bonham style. And then it ends with a neatly melodic Steve Harris-like hook from the bass. The cd closes with a richly guitarish cover of The Needle and the Damage Done, its long outro layered hypnotically with multiple guitar tracks, as captivating as what the Church did on The Maven. This is a deceptively intelligent cd: as accessible as the melodies, the vocals and the songs are, at heart it’s a kick-ass rock cd that screams out for high volume and headphones. Although it promises to captivate just as many singer/songwriter fans as headbangers. Definitely one of the year’s very best, and available for the pittance of $5, DRM-free at cdbaby. Watch this space for a cd release show.

 

October 24, 2008 - Posted by | Music, Reviews | , ,

1 Comment »

  1. wow. thank you! we’re all honored and what not. i must confess tho that that’s anthony krizan playing the super-cool countryfried guitar hook on “all that i need.” he rocks.

    Comment by Debra | October 28, 2008 | Reply


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