[October 24th, 2006 - Brassland US/Beggars EU]
*HIP/STER/EO Score: 8.9 out of 10
Devastations album, Coal, opens with "Sex and Mayhem", and ends with a broken heart. Sound familiar? Just how many relationships started and ended that way? I guess pretty much all of them that came to an untimely end. But never fear that broken heart; just cue up Coal again and you're swept into the 'sex and mayhem' once more. And all this sex comes and goes in the dark, slinky sound of the Australian trio, Devastations.
On the aforementioned album opener, "Sex and Mayhem", the confidential and confident baritone of vocalist/bassist, Conrad Standish, the snaky, supple guitar of Tom Carlyon [also piano and vocals] and the understated, selfless drumming of Hugo Cran, don't 'remind' me of Bryan Ferry, so much as make me think of him. I can imagine Ferry singing this song; it's a dark, lovely number that I feel would be well suited to a cover by Ferry. If there's one song you should hear from, Coal, it's that one.
Standish's voice comes at you from the corner of the room, the dark smoky corner where broken hearts and dust lay side by side… a voice of smoke and wine. And this is the voice that leads you from beginning to end, I hesitate to label it a croon, but it is mighty close. Whether it's up on it's high sweet edge in "Terrified", or the 'things-look-all-right-but-they-don't-feel-all-right' David Lynch vibe of "Take You Home" and "Man of Fortune", Standish reassures us with his delivery and seduces us with his words.
An outstanding sophomore effort from this Euro based trio with Australian roots, one that comes swooping out of smoky shadows on pale wings stained black with tobacco and worry. Antipodean's self examination meets European decadence giving us torch songs from minds ignited by twenty first century angst. Does that sound good? Well, it should, because it is.
+ a man of fortune [mp3]