Devics | Push the Heart (Filter U.S. Recordings)

Through three previous recordings (one of which appeared on ex–Cocteau Twins member Simon Raymonde’s Bella Union label), the band honed a vibrant sound centered around Lov’s effortlessly pretty voice and a genuinely romantic sensibility. These two soulmates delivered their music with relaxed grace, and even a little pop fizz at times.

Ever get a comfy new recliner that you couldn’t wait to get home from work and collapse into? One that relaxed every muscle in your body, and somehow changed the whole vibe of your living room (or at least its potential as a place to leave your stress behind)? That’s the sort of feel emanating from the delightful new recording by Devics, the Los Angeles duo of vocalist Sara Lov and multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Dustin O’Halloran. Through three previous recordings (one of which appeared on ex–Cocteau Twins member Simon Raymonde’s Bella Union label), the band honed a vibrant sound centered around Lov’s effortlessly pretty voice and a genuinely romantic sensibility. These two soulmates delivered their music with relaxed grace, and even a little pop fizz at times.

Push the Heart is an incredible sonic elixir—it’s not a flashy recording, but it positively gleams with melodic purity. “Let me believe in something,” sings Lov on album opener “Lie to Me,” which enchants with its waltz beat and fluid piano flurries. Is there any more charming sound than acoustic guitar chords played in waltz time? Then in “Secret Message to You,” the quaint sound of tapping typewriter keys creates an unusual percussive pairing with an accordion, while Lov sings in a sweetly girlish voice. The charm cup runneth over. “Song for a Sleeping Girl” sees O’Halloran delivering the lead vocal in a sleepy timbre, over gently chugging guitar and stately piano chords. The track has one of those sublime chord progressions in it that real music fans live for. What a beaut! “Just One Breath” is another corker of a tune that sounds like Radiohead if they were fronted by a woman—say, Beth Gibbons or one of the mystical femmes on the Projekt label. Some sort of nocturnal magic potion would seem to be compulsory to come up with starry, transfixing tunes like this; hope Devics have a good supply of it.

And this level of artfulness continues: “Moments” is exquisite beyond words; you can slow dance with your sweetheart to the elegant rhythm if you can keep from tearing up over the combination of O’Halloran’s emotive keyboards and Lov’s heartbreaking vocals. “All the mysteries you keep to yourself/Are all the miseries you hide from the world/Then you die just to get what you want/But what for?” she sings with the sort of mesmerizing wistfulness that’s far beyond the ability of ordinary musicians. Lordy. Then there’s “Come Up,” a gorgeous tune so overflowing with sensuality and romantic heartache that it could inspire phone calls, letters, or even poems to longed-for partners. Adjectives like “exquisite” even fall short when it comes to describing such beauty. On “City Lights,” Lov sings, “Here, here, let’s just stay here/You should love me here/Here, here, let’s just stay here/I should love you, dear.” That’s the best possible scenario for sublime, romantic music like this transfixing work by Devics. And if you’ve got a recliner to enjoy it from, so much the better.


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