The Devlins

Consent

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    6
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AllMusic Review by

A minor improvement over Waiting, this third offering from the Devlins follows much the same formula as the album that preceded it. Except in the two gorgeously lush songs that open the album, and in a small number of other songs, Consent's success is hindered by Colin Devlin's talky vocal delivery. This time out, the Devlins handle the production on their own, and in doing so, they process Colin's vocals to a point of unnecessary blandness. It's a mystery as to why, since Colin showcases a fine range and an organic tenderness when his voice is left to its own devices on the title track. He reaches for delicate high notes and hits them endearingly. But it's a pity he doesn't experiment more with his vocals on the remaining songs. That's not to say that the Devlins haven't matured musically. Where they sought bombast and scruffiness on Waiting, here they allow their guitars and keyboards to shimmer and glisten. Nowhere do the critical comparisons to Talk Talk resonate more than on the opening track, which is an obvious musical successor to the jazzy, fractured Laughing Stock. "Static in the Flow" is just as compelling, though clearly more commercial, with a fine keyboard and strings motif ripped straight out of the Cure's songbook. On the remaining tracks, the Devlins continue their Joshua Tree-lite fascination, touch on the bedroom folk electronics of David Gray, and simply continue on the subdued path they'd started with Drift. Certainly more lush than their previous creations, Consent is an album with fine high points that sees the Devlins maturing and experimenting, but ultimately marring the album as a whole with the duo's adherence to one musical formula, some needlessly pretentious lyrics, and a stilted vocal delivery that's below Colin Devlin's abilities.

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