DeVotchKa | 100 Lovers (Anti-Records)

The album is laced with DeVotchKa’s signature Eastern European and Latin flourishes. But 100 Lovers has a greater sonic expansiveness than previous DeVotchKa albums and covers more territory than the band ever has before.

 
 
DeVotchKa: romantic rock band. That’s about the best way to describe an otherwise nearly indescribable band (at least as far as genre goes) wrought with talent and originality. Their music is as much gypsy as it is rock, as much indie as it is bolero, and they sound like a slightly drunken Old World perambulating the New, staking their claim among the slightly mad.
 
Originally a backing band for burlesque shows—at one point touring with Dita von Teese, the tight-lacing burlesque artist, fetish model and femme fatale who was briefly married to Marilyn Manson—DeVotchKa’s popularity seems to be growing at an exponential rate. The band earned a Grammy nod for their score for the Academy Award winning film Little Miss Sunshine, and front man Nick Urata recently composed the score for I Love You Phillip Morris (starring Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor). This past year they took their stunning, theatrical live show to such places as Istanbul, Belgium and Poland. Now the band is set to release their fifth studio album—the highly anticipated 100 Lovers.
 
100 Lovers was created in the Arizona desert (as was their previous album, A Mad and Faithful Telling)under the guidance of producer Craig Schumacher (Calexico, Neko Case). The band—itself made up of Nick Urata on vocals, guitars, piano, theremin and bouzouki; Tom Hagerman on violin, accordion, piano and melodica; Jeanie Schroder on sousaphone, bass and vocals; Shawn King on drums, trumpet, accordion and organ—also brought in guest members from Calexico and percussionist Mauro Refosco of Thom Yorke’s band, Atoms For Peace. As usual, the album is laced with DeVotchKa’s signature Eastern European and Latin flourishes. But 100 Lovers has a greater sonic expansiveness than previous DeVotchKa albums and covers more territory than the band ever has before.
 
The album travels a great distance between songs like the upbeat-ish “Exhaustible” and songs like the album’s opener “The Alley,” which is a cinematic ballad that showcases Urata’s melancholic vibrato. His voice is basically the Latin Orbison, but darker, and pierces right though the gut with every note. But it’s the space in between these two extremes where the most interesting moments occur; here we get songs like “All the Sand in All the Sea,” one of the hardest hitting tracks in their entire catalogue sonically, as well as lyrically and emotionally. Many facets of the human condition are being addressed on 100 Lovers in one powerful and beautiful voice. | Matthew Treon
 
RIYL: Gogol Bordello, Beirut, Yann Tiersen

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