In Kevin Devine‘s case this didn’t seem to be an issue. Offering up two records led to him exceeding his targets, and now his plans have come to fruition with the release of ‘Bulldozer’ and ‘Bubblegum’. One is a classic Kevin Devine album, reminiscent of everything else he’s released thus far embedded in his folk background with sweeping melodies and acoustic guitar, the latter a take-charge political punk endeavour that’s let loose with Brand New’s Jesse Lacey taking charge of production.
For ‘Bulldozer’, his seventh studio album, Devine partnered with Rob Schnapf (known for producing Beck and Elliott Smith).
With Devine and Schnapf handling the majority of instrumentation, Russell Poland and Elijah Thomson of the God Damn Band provide a wonderfully solid foundation for the entire album whilst Devine partners with Isobel Campbell of Belle and Sebastian on For Eugene, to create a piercing, acoustic track about Hurricane Sandy.
The arrangements are compelling and intricate, clearly showing a chemistry with Schnapf and influences reminiscent of Elliott Smith, with Devine blending folk, punk, pop and rock with flowing melodies that are hard to erase from your memory.
Softer tracks on the album come from Couldn’t Be Happier and From Here, showcasing Devine’s lyrical prowess, with the former having the singer looking back and coming to terms with wounds past: “In context, the progress is difficult to see/ It’s increments, not mile jumps/ The grace collects and waits for us / To catch up.”
Standout tracks like Little Bulldozer being a delightful slice of dreamy, sugary pop with the catchy chorus “I need you c-c-c-closer, little bulldozer,” and She Can See Me, which appears on both albums, prove that Kevin Devine, now seven and eight albums into his solo musical career, shows no sign of stopping.
This album is a classic in his already long repertoire, showcasing what Devine does best, creating compelling music, wrapped with beautiful melodies and lyrical prowess that we see in so few artists these days.