Kevin Devine - Brother's Blood
This guy is good. Evidently, Kevin Devine is merely a victim of the human condition that keeps us all trying to survive every big or small moment in our days. The only difference between him and us is that he knows it, so he milks it. The small observations he makes unravel into lyrics so poetic and so beyond our tangible grasp. “Carnival” is the most beautiful and profound example of the depth with which his eyes gaze into the world (“And I felt a feather fall, a tree trunk split / inside my lying mouth played violin / he said, ‘you should give up your voice / before we both end up destroyed’).” His sentences are enigmatic, metaphorical, and yet all too poetic and relevant to us and to the world at large.
Then there is the versatility with which he rocks that distinguishes him from the Elliott Smith label that is slapped onto his music so often. “Hand of God” still possesses those trademark metaphorical lyrics, but it’s got a folk-y sass that dances alongside his strumming techniques so effortlessly. Similarly, “I Could Be With Anyone” also draws the attention to the poppy beat that progresses with each verse. On the other hand, somewhere in between the two songs, monotony starts to creep into the ambience, and the actual music starts to fade behind the lyrics.
It’s true: it’s the quiet ones that you have to worry about, though this phrase is being used in a slightly different context for Brother’s Blood. Kevin Devine is a soft-spoken man, but he sure knows how to make the English language sting so beautifully. Yet I do not think he’s reached his capacity. I still think there is room for his best work, though this album is by far the best among his prolific masterpieces.
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on 2009-06-05 kev_stev Said:
Excellent review. The only thing I would add is how profound "Brother's Blood," the eponymous song, really is. I say him perform it acoustic/a capella awhile back and it was the best song he had ever played, so the song stuck with me. The finished track, with it's doomed Americana guitar line, is equally as moving and is the standout track on this album for me. Definitely one of my favorite songs/albums this year.