Devon Sproule

Long Sleeve Story

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In 2000 and 2001, Lillith Fair types weren't enjoying as much exposure as they had enjoyed in the '90s -- and fewer A&R people at major labels were yearning to sign the next Alanis Morissette, the next Sarah McLachlan, or the next Shawn Colvin. But introspective, serious-minded female singer/songwriters had not disappeared; they just weren't being hyped to death by major labels (who were more likely to be interested in rap-metal or teen pop). Nonetheless, some promising young Lillith Fair types were still emerging, and one of them was Devon. Released in 2001 -- the year in which she turned 19 -- the singer/songwriter's second album, Long Sleeve Story, isn't exceptional but contains enough decent, honest material to indicate that she is well worth keeping an eye on. This CD offers an introspective blend of alternative pop/rock and folk, some of it mildly bluesy. And introspective is definitely the operative word on original tunes like "What I'm Used To," "Sleep Satisfied," and "Keep Light," all of which are quite personal-sounding. Favoring a serious, contemplative tone, Long Sleeve Story is totally unaffected by the glossy, superficial teen pop sounds that were big in the early '00s -- it's obvious that when Devon was in her late teens, her idea of a musical role model was Ani DiFranco rather than Britney Spears. Of course, glossy, frivolous escapism was exactly what some young listeners wanted in 2001, which is why Spears and her teen pop colleagues were selling millions of albums. But Devon's heart is at Lillith Fair, and that type of serious-mindedness serves her fairly well on a sophomore outing that isn't earth-shattering but is sincere and respectable.

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