Album – A Mad and Faithful Telling – DeVotchKa

Posted by admin on March 31st, 2008

  • Band / Artist : DeVotchKamySpace
  • Genre : Rock
  • Sample Track Download : N/A
  • Buy CD : Amazon
  • Buy Digital Download : iTunes
  • Rating : 8 out of 10

Sometimes, some of the people I work with at various record companies, know my tastes better than I do. When I got in this album from DeVotchKa the first thing I thought, was it’s going to be some weird kind of World Music. I played it for the first time while driving to work and my suspicions were confirmed, the first track “Basso Profundo”, is suitably weird, with it’s unique blend of Rock, Ska, Spanish and Russian influences. To be honest, it didn’t set me soul on fire and I ejected the CD, to play the next CD in my pile.

Several months later, I was listening to one of the many music podcasts I subscribe to, when a really interesting track caught my attention. I’d missed who it was by, but listened intently as the track finished, only to find it was by DeVotchKa. Upon further investigation, it was also one of the tracks on this album. This reignited my interested, so I dusted off the CD, put it on again and started anew.

The first track, “Basso Profundo” still stood out as something quite unusual, but I started to detect other influences. It’s almost like a mix between The Specials and the Talking Heads, with some world influences thrown in for good measure. It’s certainly not my favorite track, but it is certainly enjoyable to listen to, and refreshingly different. The next track, “Along the Way”, again waives convention, featuring Mexican trumpets and acoustic guitars, but here things stated to fall into place. By the time the third track “The Clockwise Witness” started, I began to feel excited, wondering what this track would bring, I was not disappointed. Much more laid back, with a far simpler arrangement, I really began to listen to the vocals more and realised I was hooked.

Many of the tracks on this album, follow that Russian/Spanish flavour, which sounds quite bizarre, but you really begin to get into once you are a few tracks into the album. However for me the killer track, is the track that made me revisit this album. That track is, “Transliterator”. With it’s wonderfully delicate keyboard intro and strings, to the haunting, almost on the verge of madness vocals. The further you get into the track, the more you feel a sense of insanity looming. It’s quite breathtaking at times, but all through the track are brief respites, lulling you into a false sense of security.

“Blessing in Disguise” begins almost like the old standard “Tulips in Amsterdam”, with it’s oompah German brass sound. Sounds however can be deceiving, and that is pretty much a way to sum up this album. Just when you think you know what to expect, another curve ball is throw. “Undone” is another one of those tracks with despair laden vocals, but there’s something quite hypnotic about them.

The 10 track album ends with “A New World”, a more conventional rock track, well at least when compared to the rest of the album. The vocals again, have that hint of despair, which are further enhanced by the cello, underpinning the track. There’s also some great vocals half way through the track, with a wonderful softness and it’s hard to tell whether they are real or just a whimsy of some electronic instrument.

Conclusion : This is certainly not going to be to many peoples tastes, but don’t base your opinion on the first listen. Once it clicks, it really begins to grow on you like a wild, out of control vine. Certainly not your run of the mill rock album, but all the more interesting for it.

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