“Thanks for joining us on this auspicious occasion,” Nick Urata told the World Cafe Live crowd today. “It’s the first day of our new album. Thanks for sharing it with us.”
The leader of DeVotchKa then launched into “Angels,” a driving rocker from their new record This Night Falls Forever; it’s their first in seven years, it’s out today on Concord Records, and the band spent half their Free at Noon set today showcasing it, while the other half revisited music from its last effort, 2011’s elegant 100 Lovers.
The set opened on “The Alley” from Lovers, with a spectral, atmospheric introduction giving way to fervent acoustic guitar strums by Nick Luca and Urata’s soaring, classic croon. By the end of the rambling song, multi-instrumentalist Tom Hagerman dialed in some keyboard lines reminiscent of The Cure circa mid-80s, later picking up his violin for “Straight Shot,” a song with a shuffling meringue rhythm and lovelorn lyrics about the necessity of time and patience for growth; before they arrive at that realization, Urata’s narrator is in the throws of separation anxiety, singing about heading “over to the east side, where my true love still resides, where my dreams goes to die.”
Speaking of multi-instrumentalism, everybody in the band is responsible for several things, with Jeanie Schroder juggling upright bass and sousaphone (not literally, of course, though that would be a sight to see) and Urata mixing in theremin along with electric guitar playing. (Shawn King has it comparatively easy dishing complex rhythms from the drummer’s stool.) “Break Up Song” from the new record split the difference between blues and eastern European folk, kind of like Beirut crossed with a heavy sonics of Wovenhand. A beautiful performance of “The Clockwise Witness” from Lovers landed in the mix, and the theme of temporal space returned on the new “Empty Vessels,” as Urata sang “we’ve got all the time in the world to kill.” It’s a chugging rocker punctuated by tremolo violin, and in many ways is a Radiohead anthem in disguise.
Check out photos of the performance below, and pick up your copy of This Night Falls Forever here.
100 Other Lovers
Break Up Song
The Clockwise Witness
All the Sand in All the Sea
Free At Noon