Rocky Votolato
True Devotion


3.5
great

Review

by Matt Wolfe EMERITUS
February 17th, 2010 | 12 replies | 8,291 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: More of the same from Rocky. It's a good thing, for now.

A common question I get asked when recommending a certain artist or band is “Which album should I start with?”. In the case of Rocky Votolato, my answer has always been the same: “Any of them.” This isn't to say the work of the artist in question is so homogeneous that it really doesn't make a difference, neither is it a cheap and lazy cop-out on behalf of the reviewer (okay, maybe it is a little of that), it just goes to show how accessible Votolato's work is. With his latest album, True Devotion, nothing has changed.

If you haven't come across the Texas-born singer-songwriter before, don't prepare yourself to be blown away by True Devotion. But do look forward to an easy, enjoyable, honest listen from an artist who isn't afraid to wear his heart plainly on his sleeve. Votolato sings with a voice which is all his own, yet still very recognizable; homely. There's no sign of attempted imitation, only complete immersion in his own songs. Smooth and gentle, Votolato sings with conviction and clear pride. It's obvious that the songs he writes, the words he sings, really mean something to him. One of the most important aspects of vocals in music is being able to believe what is being sung, and this is certainly a quality evident in Rocky's music. When emotion strikes the singer he'll let it be heard, and fortunately this isn't hidden by excessive instrumentation. The songs are mostly guitar-centric, but there are often tasteful additions of drums, pianos, violins, harmonicas, violins which flesh out the sound sweetly. One of Votolato's most admirable qualities is his ability to write a simple, but still catchy, enjoyable and emotive acoustic track, free from any unnecessary gimmick suffocation, and that is exactly what the ten tracks of True Devotion offer. Makes a nice retreat from the hordes of Animal Collective rip-off bands anyway.

If I was to use one word to nail down Rocky Votolato it would be consistency. The man has never failed to put out a half-decent record, and his passion for music has never showed any signs of waning. Unfortunately, the only progression that the artist seems to be making lately is an increasing polishing and honing of his sound. He's not taking any steps backward, but he doesn't seem to be making any forward either. This isn't such a bad thing, but you just wonder if Votolato is so proud of his music that he doesn't want to make any changes, take any risks. True Devotion occasionally suffers from this homogeneity, stagnating more than once before the record is out. Critics have often commented that his records all sound the same, and, while it may not have been such an issue in the past, there is an increasing risk of those critics being proved not only right, but forebodingly clever. God forbid. Hopefully that never has to happen and if we see another album from Votolato, there'll be something fresh to dig our teeth into, even if it doesn't taste too good. For now, it's more of the same from Rocky. Looking for somewhere to start? I certainly hope so.



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user ratings (13)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Minus The Flair
Emeritus
February 17th 2010



862 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

oh look at that, no album art work.

quick write-up to distract me from victorian economics.

Kiran
Emeritus
February 17th 2010



5992 Comments


only thing i've heard from this guy is suicide medicine and it was a very decent album. not too tempted to get this though, especially since its more of the same. one albums enough for me.

Minus The Flair
Emeritus
February 17th 2010



862 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yeah thats the crux of it, whether you like it enough to want any more.

i'm a bit of a fanboy so most people would probably rate this a 3 or even a TWO POINT FIVE but screw them.

Kiran
Emeritus
February 17th 2010



5992 Comments


are victorian economics whats been keeping you from us for so long

Minus The Flair
Emeritus
February 17th 2010



862 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i wish i could say yes but really victorian economics is what's got me to write two reviews in the space of a week.

excessive laziness is what's kept me from sputnik for so long. but although i'm hating what i'm writing atm, i'm enjoying getting back into it. kir, have you heard the morning benders new album? realllly goooood. i'm going to make an effort with that review.

Kiran
Emeritus
February 17th 2010



5992 Comments


big echo yeah? real nice. got it off bolachas a couple days ago. glad you're doing it, spread the good word!

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
February 17th 2010



20800 Comments


Good review Matt. Just one thing to top it off: Can you compare this guy to one or two other artists?

DeadToPain
February 17th 2010



694 Comments


I saw him open for the Casket Lottery years ago and remember him doing an awesome cover of Dylan's "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright". Never got around to getting anything by him, but this review has persuaded me.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
February 18th 2010



15693 Comments


i read somewhere you think your writing has gotten worse over time

fuck you faggot

Digging: Nmesh - Dream Sequins [AMDISCS]

Minus The Flair
Emeritus
February 18th 2010



862 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

it's alright, just missing the usual flair. feel free to pun, i couldn't, just woke up

its coming back though, next review is already loads better than the last two.

PirateSquid
February 21st 2010



1881 Comments


This guy is brothers with Cody Votolato right?

I'm interested.

Donkey
March 5th 2010



152 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good Review, but I enjoyed it more than you!



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