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DeVotchKa: A Mad And Faithful Telling



Album: A Mad And Faithful Telling
Label: Anti-

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A trend has formed in indie-rock lately: albums that start with an epic song that builds slowly and dramatically to a nearly orchestral crescendo. The intent, it seems, is to tell the listener, "Hey, this is some epic, dramatic shit we've got up in here!" Few discs actually keep that promise, which makes it all the more forehead-slapping that DeVotchKa hits the ground running, kicking, yelping, and dancing with "Basso Profundo," the first track on its new A Mad And Faithful Telling. Of course, DeVotchKa has never been strictly an indie-rock act. Fluttering around the genre's fringes—as well as the outer limits of everything from mariachi to gypsy folk—the band has bent its instrumental eclecticism into pulsing, swaying songs that unfold like wildflowers. "Along The Way" evokes the quirk and lushness of latter-day Talking Heads far more elegantly than middleweights like Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, and frontman Nick Urata has never gargled so much tequila as he does on the simmering "Undone." A recent boost in confidence and fame following DeVotchKa's soundtrack to Little Miss Sunshine has served Telling well: Urata's slurred warble leaps into soaring vibrato, and the group's eerie throb of violin, accordion, and sousaphone has never felt so cinematic. It's an epic sound, for sure, but one whose magnificence doesn't need a megaphone in front of it.