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Devics The Stars at Saint Andrea Review

Album. Released 2003.  

BBC Review

Forlorn piano waltzes, blue basslines and fairytale xylophones combine to create a...

Annabel Caulton 2003

California may be the sunshine state but at its heart there's a cool, dark, underside which rejoices in its own gloom.

The new album by LA based band Devics would be a perfect picture postcard in sound to send back from this moody, atmospheric place of heartbreak.

The band are essentially Sara Lov and Dustin O'Halloran. The pairspent the best part of a year living and working in an Italian farmhouse and the results of their labours are 10 songs which they've titled The Stars at St Andrea.

The plan was to use the time in Italy just to write but when it came to recording they found that they'd created the right vibe right there in Saint Andrea. Cobbling together a rudimentary studio they invited their musical friends over and recorded the album there and then, only adding a few final tweaks back in the States.

The songs deal mainly with love. The lack of it, the loss of it or the object of your desire being in love with someone else.

Sara's sirenesque vocals lap like waves over the beautiful sounds provided by the band. Forlorn piano waltzes, blue basslines and fairytale xylophones combine to create a lonely, delicate soundscape.

The music has a cinematic quality which conjures up images of film noir classics. Sara Lov herself would not look out of place standing on the platform in "Brief Encounter", engine steam snaking around her stockinged ankles.

Whilst Ms Lov provides the main vocals, Dustin's warm, low tones ease you through some of the songs. "In Your Room" intimately invites us to share the confusion of two lovers who watch helplessly as their relationship crumbles.

The duo compliment each other perfectly both musically and lyrically. To compare Devics to other bands is not easy. They don't fit neatly into any particular category or trend. However, if you have Hope Sandoval or Mazzy Star in your collection, fancy a spot of Portishead without the beats and loops and like the lonesome vibe of Beth Orton or Tanya Donelly it's fair to say you'll love these guys.

A Devic, by the way, is a mythological, celestial being. Who better to escort you to the murky twilight deep within the City of Angels.

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