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    Monday, October 23, 2006

    Hold on, hold on: Devastations MP3s

    “Hold on,” Conrad Standish sings as if he’s dangling over something truly terrifying. A few more fingers have just slipped from his grip on the precipice; his feet are limply swinging in the black air. It’s at least a fifty-foot drop down. Hold on. Hold on. Hold on, he’s commanding his shaky self. But it could also be a call for anyone listening to hold on before they jump to the by-now-tedious comparisons. The lovelorn baritone of Matt Berninger on “Cormina,” the gothic gloom of Nick Cave on “Sex and Mayhem,” the complex emotional life of Kurt Wagner on “Terrified,” the quiet smolder of Stuart Staples on “Dance With Me.” They’re all there, but reducing the Devastations to a compendium of other deep-voiced poets would be sadly short-sighted.

    After all, the Devastations, a Berlin-by-way-of-Australia trio consisting of Standish, Tom Carlyon and Hugo Cran, have just released a truly gorgeous album. Coal is a wide-ranging work whose scope can’t be summarized with one or two tracks. It’s a slow-blooming work that can’t be fully taken in after one or two listens. It’s romantic and beguiling at one moment and then it suddenly takes a turn for the mysterious and malevolent. It also swoons, rocks, seduces and aches. My favorite songs change depending on my setting and my mood, but Coal seems to have one ready no matter how I feel.

    Ultimately though, the setting I find it best suited for is nighttime listening. I can picture Standish at the end of a long day, unknotting his tie and tugging his collar loose. His defenses are down and maybe a glass of scotch is involved. The room is as dark as his mood. The songs start to spill out like the drink into his throat. Maybe under some other circumstance, he’d be able to keep his feelings locked up, but tonight, you can catch the quiver in his voice and how heavily his weighted words land. You can detect the dredged-up pain and desire laced into the music. You can feel the depth of the Devastations’ losses and how sweet catharsis can sound. There’s so much there to hold on to, but as this band stunningly proves, sometimes it's better to just let go.

    * MP3: "Coal" - Devastations from Coal
    * MP3: "Sex and Mayhem" - Devastations from Coal [Buy it]
    * Band Website: Devastations

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    Comments on "Hold on, hold on: Devastations MP3s"


    Blogger Rachel said ... (1:08 AM) : 

    Lovely review, both of these tracks are fantastic especially Sex and Mayhem, that has to be my favorite song from their album.


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