100 Lovers by Devotchka
As per usual for the Denver four piece, “100 Lovers” features a slew of modernized rock(ish) takes on Old World vaguely Eastern European(ish) sounds. It’s really pretty similar to Beirut. Sometimes I wonder if I am I the only person that finds it odd that there are two bands filling this “Goulash-core” niche?. Seems like even one band going in this direction is barely understandable. Maybe babooshka culture is big right now? This being said, Devotchka does tend to mess around with electronic instrumentation more than Beirut, which is a pretty welcome element to this style in my opinion.
I will admit I am embarrassed by your grace
And the complete look of boredom upon your face
By far the best most unique track on the album for me was the opener “One Hundred Other Lovers”. It’s a relatively upbeat track that’s held together by a gentle synth’s repetitive fluttering. When combined with some delicate plucking elements and playfully recited lyrics, the song ends up feeling like a pleasant stroll on a spring day. If the whole album had this sort of easy unpretentious grace, then we’d really have something.
Unfortunately that gem is quickly followed up by a couple of confusing ‘throw away’ intermissions that do little to nothing for me. Then a bizarre instrumental number entitled “Sunshine” that really sounds more like part of the score to a James Bond film than a rock song. Another weirdy is the final song “Contrabanda” which ends up walking this off putting line between Gypsy Kings and the King of Polka.
For me the less authentically ‘old timey’ Devotchka gets, the better they sound (“Exhaustible” and “All the sand in all the sea” are both pretty enjoyable). I think folksy Eastern European stuff is probably best if used as a rough/distant influence as opposed to something you just try to spice up a little. Here’s to hoping Devotchka continues gets both feet firmly into the 21st century the next time around, because when they do, the results are pretty damn good.
One Hundred Other Lovers
100 Lovers : 2.5 out of 5