Kevin Devine – Bubblegum


Artist

Album

Bubblegum

Label

Devinyl Records

Year

2013

Genre

For Fans Of

Say Anything - Bad Books - Manchester Orchestra

Summary

An innovative and well-produced album.

Rating

90 / 100

What do you get when you mix Kevin Devine, The Goddamn Band, and Jesse Lacey?

…‘Bubblegum’ is the answer.

The eighth full-length from Devine has been released simultaneously with his latest solo album, and seventh full-length, ‘Bulldozer’. Produced by Brand New’s Jesse Lacey, ‘Bubblegum’ provides a twist on the Kevin Devine that we are familiar with. This twist is most prevalent in indie rock riff-controlled, political critique, ‘Fiscal Cliff’. There are rhythmic plays between instruments and vocals, much like something taken from one of the more recent Say Anything albums. ‘Fiscal Cliff’, along with other slightly askew tracks on this album, is fairly far from the more easy listening style that Devine has tended to sway towards in the past.

However, the more relaxed sound is still present at times. A good example of this is the greater portion of hypnotically laid-back track, ‘Redbird’, which precedes an ending that actually gets a little bit heavy. ‘Sick of Words’ has this link to Devine’s roots also, but with the addition of Bad Books (his project with Manchester Orchestra)-type instrumentation.

The songs on this album are not overproduced. If anything, they are strategically kept bare enough to still be solid, complete tracks. ‘I Don’t Care About Your Band’ is another relatively casual song with, at times folky, electric leads, which holds as much importance as Devine’s more underplayed vocal lines.

Nobel Prize’, which opens the album, is an inviting and energetic song that catches you right from the beginning. The appeal is followed through with ‘Private First Class’, a song about injustice that repeatedly boasts the line, “you might wish you’d been born a liar”, and previously mentioned track, ‘Fiscal Cliff’.

Sporadic and fast-moving title track, ‘Bubblegum’, has Weezer style guitar-drenched choruses, and an overall lively and bright finish. Parts of the song seem to channel Devine’s good old days playing in prior band Miracle of 86.

Later on, things get a bit heavier with ‘She Can See Me’ (a song that also appears in a different form on ‘Bulldozer’). The metal-sounding start dies down rather rapidly though, with only hints of it remaining in the background, as the song settles for a more alternative rock feel, which is maintained until a heavy return right before the finish.

Conclusion

A terrific album that presents a fresh sound for Devine while still maintaining the established appeal of his previous music. ‘Bubblegum’ is sure to make Kickstarter pledgers very happy, as well as many others.

Tracklisting

1. Nobel Prize
2. Private First Class
3. Fiscal Cliff
4. I Can’t Believe You
5. Redbird
6. Bloodhound
7. Bubblegum
8. Sick of Words
9. Cabybara
10. She Can See Me
11. Somewhere Unoccupied
12. I Don’t Care About Your Band

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