Sweaty garage-punk now comes in sleek sport coats and drooping pompadours. At least, that’s the shtick of brash New York City-throwback Devin, whose ferocious debut, Romancing, burns with an amphetamine-injected fury. It’s what would have happened if The Strokes veered right at their proverbial fork in the road of synth-joy or shiny-boots-pop. From the opening fuzzy bass of lead single “Masochist” to the slow-dance sweetness of “My Solitude,” Devin has his bases covered in the niche genre of dirty-sounding bubblegum pop.
His distorted, froggy vox are enough to capture attention, though his words might be just a smidge shallow. Still, in the age of cookie-cutter, whiny, brooding indie stars, Devin is a nice foil. I don’t remember the last time I heard as song as fun as the dynamic “Run,” or the last time I got as excited about an opening note as I did on “Born to Cry.” These tinges color the corners of Romancing, a stereotypically black-and-white fuzzbox rock-n-roller, and stamp it with a gigantic seal of approval.
With this impressive debut, Devin’s out the gate with legs motoring. “It just has to be fun — that’s the most important thing,” says the man himself. Lord, ain’t it the truth…in the beginning at least. Here’s to hoping his second wind is as spastic and gusty as the first.
(Frenchkiss Records, 111 East 14th St. Suite 229, New York, NY 10003)