100 Lovers - DeVotchKa
It’s a long way down from Mile High City to the Sonora Desert but DeVotchKa’s cinematic sound is born of grand vistas. So, for their 5th release, the Denver-based four piece opted for the arid clarity of Arizona, eventually recording the disc in Tucson with Calexico’s producer, Craig Schumacher, who’s used to forging musical realities that reflect the character of the land. DeVotchKa frontman, Nick Urata is also well-versed in writing panoramic material, recognized among today’s top 10 composers of major motion pictures like Little Miss Sunshine, I Love You Phillip Morris and The Joneses to cite a few. It should be noted that four talented musicians are at the heart of DeVotchKa but their recorded vision accommodates a much larger cast including violins, violas, bandoneon, a children’s choir, trumpets and tenor and baritone saxophones. Urata created the band as a knee-jerk to all the guitar, bass and drum outfits. There’s plenty of rock attitude and accessibility on 100 Lovers but it also keeps you guessing at every turn. Elements of tango, bolero, Balkan, klezmer, polkas, you name it can surface at any given moment, adding to the dynamic swirl that gathers like thunder clouds in the thick recesses of the arrangements. But, soaring above and into the blue, Urata’s near operatic and languidly drawn out melodies manage to anchor and steer the cacophony below. The beautiful package (for those like me who eschew downloads and still consider those kinds of tangible elements an important part of the experience) bears out the aforementioned imagery, illustrating the band members romping amongst the dunes with umbrellas that threaten to carry them aloft. In Urata’s words, “My ideal way someone would describe us would be romantic, exotic or hopefully just plain good.” DeVotchKa scores on all counts and hopefully 100 Lovers nets them thousands of new fans.