My Beautiful Sinking Ship

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It's difficult to categorize My Beautiful Sinking Ship, or the music of Devics for that matter, but the Los Angeles foursome travels down a truly inspired path here. Built around themes of ships and seas, the band touches upon influences and styles as diverse as shoegazer pop, cabaret playfulness, post-rock bombast, and piano bar jazz. Sara Lov handles most of the vocals, and she manages to recall Fiona Apple and Mojave 3's Rachel Goswell at the same time, using her voice as a brittle yet confident instrument. Dustin O'Halloran is responsible for virtually every instrument other than bass and drums, and he proves himself to be a match for peers like Jason Falkner and Jon Brion, though he deals with subject matter and motifs of a darker nature. With songs that are reminiscent of Apple, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Slowdive, and Bertolt Brecht all at once, while still suggesting a band who's fully in control of their own distinctive sound, the album is an intriguing and accomplished rush from start to finish. Though it runs for more than 60 minutes, there's never a sense that the band is being pretentious or that they should have left anything on the cutting-room floor. Whether pianos, keyboards, guitars, and drums are all pounding away with bombast or taking turns painting serene, mournful themes, every note rings true and strong. At turns epic and progressive and at other turns beautifully lush and peaceful, My Beautiful Sinking Ship seems like a long-lost classic from the vaults of 4AD. It's a delightful work of art that begs to be heard, and it's the kind of release that should send listeners scrambling for the band's back catalog.

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