Devon Sproule

Devon

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Devon still wasn't old enough to vote when she recorded this self-titled debut album in 1999; she was 16, to be exact. But there is nothing bubblegum or teenybopper-ish about this CD -- for Devon, being a teenager didn't mean embracing frivolous, cutesy teen pop. In fact, her first album is far from frivolous or cutesy -- influenced by Ani DiFranco and other Lilith Fair icons, Devon brings a serious tone to this introspective effort. In contrast to her second album, Long Sleeve Story, this release is more consistently folk-oriented. While Long Sleeve Story offers an amplified blend of alternative pop/rock and folk, Devon is essentially an acoustic-oriented folk outing. Is Devon for folk purists? Not quite. The CD uses some electric guitar, and it isn't without rock and pop influences. But electric guitar takes a back seat to Devon's acoustic guitar, and an unplugged, coffeehouse ambience defines intimate offerings like "Survive Alone," "Hysterically," and the melancholy "Generic Love Song." The unplugged approach serves Devon well; the Virginia native isn't a bad lyricist, and opting for fewer instruments and less production has a way of making her words stand out. One thing that this album and Long Sleeve Story have in common is the feeling of the blues; whether she is being amplified and rockin' on Long Sleeve Story or intimate and acoustic-oriented on this CD, the singer/songwriter can be mildly bluesy (although "Appreciate Me" is more than mildly bluesy -- it is very bluesy). As likable as these songs are, Devon comes across as someone who still has some growing and developing to do. But, all things considered, this is a respectable debut from a teenager who had more than superficial things on her mind back in 1999.

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