I lived in Colorado during the early 2000s, and when I couldn’t stand to hear another bluegrass or jam band (or even worse, jamgrass), DeVotchKa was a local band I could have pride in.
DeVotchKa’s music was a theatrical blend of indie rock and old world influences; from waltz to mariachi to Spaghetti Westerns to tango…all this globetrotting held together by solid songcraft and the Jeff Buckley-esque voice of Nick Urata.
Devotchka seemed like the most uniquely talented band to remain fairly unknown. Then in 2008 they were featured on the Little Miss Sunshine soundtrack, introducing the band to a much wider audience on the strength of the melancholic single “How it Ends.” Around this time, I sort of lost track of the band, so The Night Falls Forever, their first album in seven years, came as a surprise to me. And what a nice surprise it was.
Over 20 years into their career, DeVotchKa continue to incorporate worldly theatrics with anthemic indie rock, sounding a bit like The National if they pretended to be 1920s Russians and were into burlesque. A few songs, like “Empty Vessels” and “Lose You in a Crowd”, lean a little towards generic U2 style melodrama, but that’s hardly a complaint, as every song is good, with solid hooks and anthemic peaks.
“Done With Those Days” revisits their classic Southwestern sound and high lonesome whistling, while “Angels” has a guitar lead that sounds like it came from Grandaddy, another under recognized early 2000s band. “Second Chance” closes the album with a Walkmen-esque cool dad swagger, sweeping strings, and a whistle goodbye, just as Morricone would’ve wanted it.
The Night Falls Forever is a fantastic reunion that will get many plays from me, and a deeper dive into their back catalog.