REVIEW: Meredith Graves / Kevin Devine – ‘Devinyl Splits No. 2’

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Meredith Graves / Kevin Devine
Devinyl Splits No. 2

by Calley Nelson

Devinyl Splits No. 2 is one of many upcoming releases from Kevin Devine through Bad Timing Records. “Gießen” is an acoustic track about making music and accidentally smoking coke — which is actually a pretty typical song for Devine, who specializes in crooning emotionally evocative lyrics over a finger-plucked acoustic guitar. It’s interesting, however, that such a track should be flanked by the complexity of “took the ghost to the movie”, which features Meredith Graves of hardcore band Perfect Pussy. Meredith lends an unexpectedly breathy, ethereal performance to a ferocious drum beat and swarm of guitars, miles more tender than 2013’s Say Yes to Love wherein Graves shouted her poetry as demands, battling gamely with the rest of the instruments but never quite coming out on top. Yet, like Graves’ previous work with Perfect Pussy and Shoppers, you must dig through the guitars, fuzz, and heavy percussion in order to find the poetry buried there.

The beautiful part about listening to Meredith Graves’ work is that you get a sense of what her music is about before you understand exactly what it means. Her lyrics are artfully convoluted and each track becomes a puzzle. A precursor of her soon-to-come solo work, “took the ghost to the movie” finds Graves branching out, crafting a more melodic palette rooted in lo-fi indie layers reminiscent of shoegaze artists like My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive while keeping the element of discovery alive. There is no escape from the cymbals crashing on top of Meredith’s vocals like waves, rolling forward into the mix on the crest of Kevin Devine’s guitar work. In the wake of all that turbulence, “Gießen” almost becomes a retrospective track, attempting to make sense of the cacophony that came before it.

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