Devin Davis

Lonely People of the World, Unite!

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    9
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Devin Davis spent two years crafting Lonely People of the World, Unite! in the studio, playing just about all the instruments himself as well as writing and producing. All that time and solitary effort have paid off in a big way, because this is the kind of guitar pop record that comes out of nowhere and leaves your jaw scraping the floor in amazement, sort of like the New Pornographers' Mass Romantic or Sloan's classic One Chord to Another. Davis' songs are an exciting blend of chamber pop (horns, keyboards, lush layers of acoustic guitars), power pop (hard-hitting electric guitars, jumpy rhythms, vocal harmonies), and classic '60s pop (glimpses of the influence of the Kinks, the Small Faces, and pop-psych bands like the Move and the Easybeats). Best of all, they are suffused with an alarming amount of energy, with Davis' slightly geeky voice straining at the seams, the guitars careening wildly, and the chords and words flashing by at a blinding pace. Not too many bands these days are writing songs as hook-filled and alive as "Iron Woman," "Sandie," and "Moon Over Shark City," or as sweetly innocent and melodic as the quieter songs on the record, like "Deserted Eyeland," "Giant Spiders," and "The Choir Invisible." Davis' production touch is remarkably assured as well. He knows just when to cut the dynamics or jump them up a notch, and the record flows like an exhilarating live set. The whole record is filled with moments of head-nodding agreement with his choices, hilarious lyrics, and moments of audacity, like when he samples the Monkees' theme song ("We're the young generation and we've got nothing to say") in the boy band-dissing "Transcendental Sports Anthem," drops a perfectly blaring E Street meets Archie Shepp sax solo into "Iron Woman," or hits the accelerator halfway through the Kinks-ish barrelhouse piano rocker "Paratroopers With Amnesia," leaving your heart doing crazed jumping jacks. Lonely People of the World, Unite! is a small-scale triumph, and Devin Davis has left the competition in the dust. There are few guitar pop records of the last 20 years that are as exciting, well-constructed, and memorable as this.

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