With a Kickstarter campaign promising two very different albums, Kevin Devine delivers on what he calls his “two halves of the brain” where he likes to write for both. On his eighth studio endeavour, with Brand New’s Jesse Lacey at the helm, Kevin Devine takes charge, singing politically charged outrage with a satirical feel.
Often charged with singing about politics for politics sake, Devine pulls no punches when talking shit about a fiscal cliff, writing sorry truths about a nation in demise, with an intensely personal fervour.
Nobel Prize opens with a jolt of fuzzy guitars and staccato bursts, with Devine dredging up already touchy subject matter, like drone strikes and border patrol in the US, without sacrificing his unbiased political message.
‘Bubblegum’ scorches through current events in it’s opening three tracks, from dishonourably charged Chelsea Manning, to the aforementioned Fiscal Cliff. With Jesse Lacey building the album on foundations of feedback, Devine takes the government off a pedestal and instead looks for his listeners to internalize the issues, asking how they’d act in Manning’s position, and looking for them to step out from behind their computers and take action. But some of the album’s more poignant tracks come in later, with Red Bird showcasing Nirvana’s influence on Devine’s songwriting.
If Brand New were to never release a new album though, Jesse Lacey shows he’s at home behind the desk, in the studio, with chaotic, yet atmospheric production values. But this is nothing like any Brand New record we’ve heard before. Devine is indeed doing what he wants here, writing songs he wanted to write and collaborating with people that best suit his style – avoiding any generic genre conventions.
The results pay off, with ‘Bubblegum‘ showcasing Devine’s passion in a blaze of pent up exasperation, bringing forward his most immediate album to date. Accessible, yet demanding your attention, Devine has brought forth an album with his God Damn Band that’s insanely catchy and endearing, whilst being politically driven and full of his acerbic wit. “It’s never only the one thing/ Always another/ Waiting in line.”