RIYL: Drama, Fiddler on the Roof, Ennio Morricone, Tom Waits
The best thing about DeVotchKa is the variety. Its sort of like listening to the soundtrack of a Sergio Leone film on a road trip with a travelling gypsy band. That would be a fun trip, no? Elli Wallach can drive the van and Blondie (the Eastwood role, silly) plays the accordion. It will be perfect. Im not sure that A Mad and Faithful Telling, the sixth album from the former burlesque backing band is perfect, but its pretty darn good, even if it lacks the fire of previous efforts.
No, there are no huge revolutions in the bands sound. Nick Urata still croons and seduces over trumpets, fiddles and a host of other instruments that I couldnt pick out of a line up. The same feeling of anachronistic romance persists, however there is a feeling that the energy is a bit more tamed than with previous releases like Una Volta or How it Ends. Still, Im not complaining and Im not saying this effort is all more of the same. For example, songs like Tansilliterator show signs of a more conventional rock esthetic with catchy refrains and slick production values. Even if Comrade Z sounds familiar, Ill catch myself humming the melody. My favorite song is Along the Way which features mournful trumpets and Uratas troubadour style nicely.
The one down side to A Mad and Faithful Telling is that it isnt. In a vacuum the tracks are mostly satisfying the album as a whole doesnt fulfill the promise of the tracks. DeVotchKa is all about emotion and power. Yet, by the end of these ten tracks Im left feeling that some of that power has been tamed, produced, moderated. This telling is a bit TOO faithful and not mad enough.