Beggars Banquet, 2007
Though well received at the time of its release, Yes, U – the third album from this trio of Australian ex-pats, recorded in Berlin – didn’t kick the group’s profile up enough notches for them to be as recognised as they perhaps should be. To these ears, anyone repeatedly buying into the enveloping gloom of Nick Cave (an obvious but valid parallel) or the literate melancholic indie of Tindersticks needs this band in their life. It’s a sumptuous offering, equal parts sinister shadows and in-your-face fury – and its brilliance comes through the listener never quite knowing what is coming next. So Black Ice is a slow slide towards inevitable trouble, drum machine beats popping beneath solid percussion from fine sticksman Hugo Cran; but Rosa throws such cautiousness to the howling wind, turning amplifiers up until the knobs fall off and allowing frontman Conrad Standish to howl at a killing moon. Of equal presence is co-vocalist Tom Carlyon who, while less direct than his bandmate, offers a finely understated foil and is equally capable of getting under the skin of the listener, his whisper as powerful a tool as any wailing guitar riff. A great trio, with great songs – this is their best set, though 2006’s Coal isn’t without its moments of mischievous magic – quite how Devastations aren’t the regularly referenced, critically lauded outfit they should be can only be put down to the fact that a successor to Yes, U is yet to emerge. (A rather sad-looking, neglected MySpace page lists no new dates.) Album four, soon, please gents?
For fans of: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, The Black Heart Procession, The National
Download: The Pest, Rosa, An Avalanche of Stars, The Saddest Sound
Devastations – Rosa (live)
Devastations – The Saddest Sound