Wednesday, February 15, 2006


It has to be said that sometimes, no matter how taken I am with a song, I struggle to find anything much to write about the artist that made it (given that, as I've said before and I'll surely say again, actually describing the music itself is something I'll do anything to avoid; who was it who said that writing about music is like dancing about architecture? They were dead right). That says more about my clumsy and awkward writing skills than it does about any of the musicians we feature on here, but it's rare that I'll find myself with so much interesting stuff to say about a band that I don't even know where to begin. I'll warn you: it's going to be a long one.

Photo by Ted Liscinski

The two members of Devics, Sara Lov and Dustin O'Halloran came together when they met at art college in Santa Monica, California. Both had lived in Los Angeles as children, but had rather eventful lives between then and the point when they met. At the age of four Sara Lov was kidnapped by her father and taken to Israel; it was over a decade before she was able to return to the US with the help of an uncle. She decided at the age of six that she was going to be a singer. Dustin O'Halloran, too, had a happy and unremarkable Los Angeles early childhood, but when his mother became ill he had to go and live with his father on the remote Hawaiian island of Kauai, only returning to Los Angeles years later, and finally meeting Lov at art college in the mid-90s. The pair instantly clicked, and became a couple; that relationship faded after a while, but their creative partnership in Devics is still going strong. Lov has described the band as a child they have together.

Photo by Ted Liscinski

Devics released their first proper album, following a compilation of early demo material, in 1998, on their own label, Splinter Records. This attracted the attention of former Cocteau Twin Simon Raymonde, who was so impressed that he invited them to sign to Bella Union, the label he runs with other-ex-Cocteau-Twin Robin Guthrie. The release of 2001's The Beautiful Sinking Ship on Bella Union and the subsequent exhaustive tours that took in Western Europe, the Eastern Bloc, and even Russia, resulted in Devics developing a firm fanbase in Europe. Lov and O'Halloran moved to Italy at around this time, a country in which they were known thanks to filmmaker Giuseppe Bertolucci who had used their music for the score of his film L'Amore Probabilmente, in 2001. The next Devics album, The Stars of Saint Andrea, was written while the pair were living deep in the Italian countryside, having made their home in an old farmhouse. The album brought them yet more acclaim and recognition from the music press across Europe.

Photo by Stefano Masselli

In 2004 O'Halloran released an instrumental solo album, entitled Piano Solos, which was also positively received by the music press, particularly in the UK. After so much success in Europe, Devics were determined to carve a name for themselves in their native country, and so returned to the US in 2004 to work on their fourth album, Push the Heart, which should be released this spring, on Bella Union in Europe, and Filter in the US. This song, Distant Radio (which reminds me very much of the Sundays - I'm sure I'm not the first person to say that), will be on that album, and is also available on a five-track EP of the same name. You can listen to more songs, and buy them too, on the Devics website, (you can also buy their stuff from the Bella Union online shop), where you will also find all the news, tour dates etc, you could possibly need; they also have a MySpace page with more of the same. Oh, and they have a video up on the Filter US Recordings site, too.

This is beautiful music, and I can guarantee you'll want to hear more. And if you don't, well... what's wrong with you?!

MP3: Distant Radio

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