As someone who lived through the early rock & roll era into the 60s & through punk/alternative/new wave rock. My ears have been deliciously abused. I survived & heard just about everything of importance, that was seminal & influential.
Boston’s Devil Love’s young musicians learned the lessons of those skillful creative & original musicians quite well. From the opening cut “Everywhere Leads the Sound,” their balanced guitars, drums & shifts in tempo prove they are a well-oiled machine.
The vocalist is strong but nondescript. That’s not to say he isn’t interesting. The song is well-arranged & performed. The band isn’t Willie Alexander-Massachusetts hard rock, crisp, polished guitar-driven Cars-like rock, or grunge-grinding either. They possess an abundant amount of sensible melody & vivid arrangements.
“Good Currency,” is excellent. The band can be reminiscent of Collective Soul, 54-40, bits of The Alarm, INXS & The Fixx. Yet, they succeed in taking what they know & successfully sew it into their own fabric as a respectful thread of their own alt-music design. They also have commonality with some of the wonderful Australian bands like Dragon (“New Machine” & “Rain”) of the 70s & 80s or the English Comsat Angels (“Believe It”) than most American units.
Songwriter/guitarist/vocalist Pete Buzzelle doesn’t have a signature voice as unique as Spear of Destiny’s Kirk Brandon (“I Remember”) or Ian McNabb of Icicle Works (“Evangeline”). But what he does have is a solid vocal tone for the type of music he sings & is nonetheless proficient. The title cut “Broken Things,” is bright & upbeat as a Ray Davies’ Kinks song in their literate song era. It’s performed with propulsive notes & jangly guitars intertwined with crunch. Yes. This succeeds easily.
The 10-cut debut Devil Love – Broken Things (drops Feb 12/Buzz Bin Records). It’s good because thankfully Buzzelle doesn’t have a whiney voice, doesn’t sing with valium-induced tonality, & the band supports him with tight interplay delightfully.
Paced well the songs have their own sumptuous heaviness (“The Owl” with its Leslie West type guitar tone) possesses sweetness but it’s vanilla ice cream with brandy on fire. There isn’t anything boring though it’s mindful of past music — it isn’t retro. Devil Love has added to the genre not imitated it. All those indie-artists mentioned in their record company PR were in turn influenced by the artists I mention in whatever small way…it’s there & they existed decades before.
“I Won’t Go Down Without a Fight,” is exciting. It has punch & effectiveness born from the brilliance of the Illinois band The Shoes crossed with Georgia’s The Brains (the original “Money Changes Everything”). It’s this hybrid that makes Devil Love worth a listen. Along with Pete: Ken Rothman (lead guitar), Jason Raffi (bass), Chuck Ferreira (drums/percussion), Josh Cohen (keys/guitar), with guests: Craig Small (vocals/cut 3), Benny Grotto (percussion/2 cuts), Briana Chalker (vocals/track 10) Ed Gerwig & Chris Zerby (vocals/cut 6).
The 36-minute CD is available at https://devillove.bandcamp.com/album/broken-things