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Published: 2005/02/04
by Matt Brockett

How It Ends – Devotchka

Cicero Recordings 69963
Devotchka combines the beauty and precision of classical music with the energy and variety of Eastern European folk rock, birthing a sound that is both interesting and unique. Their latest release, How It Ends, is a collection of songs filled with heartache, loss, remorse and redemption. The energy and emotion of the disc are through the roof, but the overall mood is rather somber, and it works perfectly.
Nick Urata’s vocals are incredibly ghostly and haunting, and while one can’t always understand his words, you can certainly understand the emotion he is pouring forth with every note. On the classical-tinged opening track "You Love Me," his voice is that of a crooner, somewhere between Bono and David Byrne, yet entirely his own.
Devotchka goes all over the place musically, but without ever straying too far from their core sound. The jazzy deep tuba bass groove of "Twenty-Six Temptations" and the minimalist indie rock sound of "Too Tired" are perfect examples of this, as is the full-on mariachi music of "We’re Leaving." The rocking urgency and good old fashioned whistling of "The Enemy Guns" makes the song feel like it would fit perfectly in an old Western, with Mexican banditos surrounding the bar, waiting to ambush the hero as he downs his last whiskey.
Their songs could be seen as a metaphor for the highs and lows of being human. The happiness and the struggle, the joy and the pain, are all represented. From the multicultural "let’s party" feel of "Such A Lovely Thing," to the simple sad beauty of "This Place Is Haunted," Devotchka’s music is real life.
This band is in it for the music, and not the money, a fact that their playing attests to. If you can’t figure that out from the music, the fine print on the back of the album cover encourages folks to burn copies for their friends with the line "Unauthorized duplication of this record is encouraged." Not exactly something you would expect to hear from a band on the rise, but then again, Devotchka is not something anyone would expect, and therein lies their beauty.

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