Thursday, November 09, 2006


Heads up Nick Cave and Tindersticks fans! Tired of waiting for their new albums to come out? You could do worse than to check out fellow Aussies Devastations, who peddle a very similar brand of melancholy rock music. These are the obvious reference points, and maybe Devastations are fed up of being compared to them already. But then again, they have toured with Stuart Staples and Co, as well as Nick Cave compatriots Dirty Three.

Although I've only recently become aware of Devastations, their new album Coal is actually their second. And it seems like they've been working hard, moving from Australia to Berlin (ooh - so cool) in 2003 and touring all over Europe since then. Coal was recorded in Prague, Berlin and back in Melbourne. Right now they're in the US. Surely the hardest working Germany-based Australian band around? I see they're in London in support of Damian Jurado on 10 December. Could be worth a date.

Coal is often quite delicious, but lacks something of a bite that makes it that little bit more special. The comparisons with other bands that could be made, aren’t always quite right. They don’t have the grandeur of Cave, or the pleasing awkwardness of Dirty Tree, nor the anthemic splendour of The Arcade Fire, nor the soul of Tindersticks. However they do have a fine, sweeping sound, with a few decent, even lovely piano ballads (one featuring Kiwi chanteuse Bic Runga). But they’re at their best on the likes of Take You Home and What's A Place Like That Doing in a Girl Like You?, when they introduce squally guitars whilst the sweet piano and strings keep the melody intact. Overall then, not an album to take you to new musical places, but one to put on, and let it wash nicely over you. We don’t need our lives changed every day. Sometimes we just need to be soothed. This will do the trick nicely.

Download: Devastations – Take You Home
Download: Devastations – What's A Place Like That Doing in a Girl Like You?

Buy Coal

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