Kevin Devine
Between the Concrete and Clouds


3.5
great

Review

by Statrick Pickles USER (63 Reviews)
September 13th, 2011 | 21 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A lesson in consistency

Remember the long lost days of throwing a baseball around with your father at the neighborhood ballpark? You'd start off with a casual catch, dad's eyes twinkling at your ever-improving form. Then it was onto infield practice, the perfect excuse to get dirty whilst trying to imitate the sprawling web-gems of your favorite major-leaguers. As late afternoon became evening, your final test of the night ensued: batting practice. And with each pitch that dad lobbed over the plate, you swung as if that 400-foot fence was an attainable feat - clink! Foul ball. Then, quickly resetting and refocusing, another pitch - clink! Foul. Third, fourth, fifth, and sixth attempts followed in much the same way, with subsequent pings from the bat marking foul ball upon foul ball. Finally giving into the mounting frustration, the bat falls to the dirt along with hope and self-esteem. Your inability to achieve as desired seems such a major pitfall, until the feel of that fatherly embrace on that shoulder preceded the words you'd heard many a time before: "It's alright, son. At least you're consistent."

Ten year old me loathed that word. As far as I could distinguish, consistent meant not good enough and not getting what you wanted. Even between licks of the ice cream cone that followed, its three syllables rang out over and over in my brain - irritating, disappointing, and most of all, befuddling young me. In my naivety, and just as anyone at that age might have done, I failed to see anything more than the adjective's fatalistic side. But throw a few flaky relationships along with the disbandment of Snowing and American Football in between then and now, and the significance of consistency slowly revealed itself. So much so, in fact, that the very idea of consistency has cemented itself as one of life's most rewarding endeavors. Now, to be consistent is to be productive. And to be Kevin Devine is to be consistent.

With Between the Concrete and Clouds standing as his sixth full-length effort, supplemented by smaller releases all along the way, Devine is further proving his unfailing ability to write fantastic songs and smoothly flowing records. Though BtC&C is the first Devine album to be recorded fully alongside his (goddamn) band, all of the charm and intimacy in his songwriting remains. Furthermore, the constant presence of a backing band this time around lends a noticeably cohesive feel to the entire record, much like that found on the premier tracks of Brother's Blood. However, it's hard not to notice, try as I might, that there is a certain divide standing between this and his last LP. Here, certain opportunities are missed, or perhaps even ignored. Where former tracks like 'Carnival' and 'Brother's Blood' showed an impressive new ability to layer instrumentation upon vocals upon more distant instrumentation, all the tracks here seem to remain relatively localized. Much unlike my father back on the baseball diamond, Devine seems awfully reluctant to raise his voice on BtC&C. It's almost as if a more mature and learned K.D. no longer feels the need to shout both at and for himself to relieve discontentment and discomfort. When he belts out "Calm down, you'll be alright!" on 'A Story, A Sneak', one can't help but assume that the command is self-directed. For as nice as it is to see and hear him feeling more at peace, there was a lot of allure to be had in such a bothered, thunderously ambitious track as 'Another Bag of Bones'.

Though the feral delight of some former lyrical work isn't quite attained on Between the Concrete and Clouds, Devine still puts forth a collection of exceptional tracks that aren't too easily forgotten. Closer 'I Used To Be Someone' showcases some of his best songwriting to date, whereas the title track quickly calls to mind everything that there is to love about K.D. with its well-crafted verses leading seamlessly into a vocal-intensive chorus. As Devine ponders about his uncertainty in faith and religion, he reveals a great deal of lyrical influence from buds and former tour-mates Jesse Lacey and Andy Hull. His band here can't be ignored either, consistently pulling each track together and tying off some of K.D.'s former loose ends.

If one last word can be used to describe Between the Concrete and Clouds, it'd have to be 'refreshing' - refreshing in its ability to remind us all that even though the Kinsella brothers can call it quits and Noah and the Whale can release crap like Last Night On Earth, Kevin Devine and his troupe will continue to put out solid, heartfelt records. Even when you can wake up next to someone who suddenly no longer feels the same, it's comforting and revitalizing to know that some things don't have to change. Much like that baseball diamond, still there but much more vacant these days, BtC&C is a reminder that not all good is eventually lost. Rather, some good things just stay good. Consistently good.



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user ratings (33)
Chart.
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
iFghtffyrdmns
September 13th 2011


7047 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Stream: http://music.aol.com/new-releases-full-cds/spinner#/6

Originally posted: http://www.muzikdizcovery.com/

Irving
Staff Reviewer
September 13th 2011


7321 Comments


Really good review. Have a well-deserved pos. This is one of the rare instances I have seen where being slightly conversational actually ends up working very well.

One critique for you though: watch your choice of diction, specifically the usage of words which are only really excess baggage. For example: With Between the Concrete and Clouds standing as his sixth full-length effort, supplemented by an intermittent plethora of smaller releases all along the way, Devine is further proving his unfailing ability to write fantastic songs and smoothly flowing records.

The words "intermittent" and "unfailing" (and arguably "plethora" as well) give a vague sense of word-wankery and really don't do much to advance the review at all. Try and prune stuff like this out. It makes your writing all the more concise and effective. And consistent ;)

Rev
September 13th 2011


9441 Comments


Good review. Kevin is seriously one of the nicest dudes ever

Will check this out. Pos

iFghtffyrdmns
September 13th 2011


7047 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

@Irv - thanks for pointing that out, I didn't really realize how unnecessarily verbose that sentence was until now, so I trimmed it up a bit.

@Rev - thanks pal, I actually saw him the other night on the first night of his Features/KD tour in Pittsburgh, and he was sort of just a dick the whole night, mainly because there was some equipment trouble and a choice few individuals in the crowd giving him a hard time. Even so, he played something like 22 songs and was super mellow when I talked to him after so I can't really hold his frustration against him haha

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
September 13th 2011


24098 Comments


"Remember the long lost days of throwing a baseball around with your father at the neighborhood ballpark?"

No ='[

Digging: Mitski - bury me at makeout creek

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
September 13th 2011


7423 Comments


Nice review man, another MD feature

I've never actually listened to Kevin Devine, now seems as good a time as any to begin.

iFghtffyrdmns
September 13th 2011


7047 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

aw sorry Aids. you ever wanna come out to Pittsburgh/Buffalo, I'll have a catch with you and you can call me dad and everything.

and yeah right on thanks Ali, he's aight... I'm just particularly keen on him I guess cause I've been listening to him for so long and he's always around and consistent and just not letting me down like SNOWING :[ :[

PGST3
September 13th 2011


53 Comments


I like it, you were consistently shitty, as Kevin Devine is consistently good.

Fort23
September 13th 2011


2480 Comments


saw this guy live was pretty awesome.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
September 13th 2011


16917 Comments


always liked kevin devine, will have to check this out. superb review too.

Digging: Low Roar - 0

iFghtffyrdmns
September 13th 2011


7047 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

i'm gonna make my friends call me "the consistently shitty one" from now on, thanks pgst3, good looks

taxidermist
September 13th 2011


7212 Comments


This seems pretty cool. Might check it out. Good review. Pos.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
September 13th 2011


7321 Comments


Man I like it how three users are dominating the site's feature section. Looks like the Staff have to buck up and start reviewing ;) Man there's a lot of good stuff coming out this week.

iFghtffyrdmns
September 13th 2011


7047 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

haha I know right?
late 2011 is definitely going to end up being a very good time for new releases.

chaseee
September 13th 2011


223 Comments


Great review always loved Kevin Devine

luschlotz
September 13th 2011


993 Comments


Great review. Gonna check this out

ZombicidalMan
September 14th 2011


1997 Comments


Ah man, I was just checking this out on BSM. Definitely need to look into it now. Nice review, old chap.

HotKogan
September 14th 2011


15 Comments


take ya clothes off and meh dick will go soft

tkoltz1311
September 14th 2011


3 Comments


i actually enjoyed this so far. not very special though.

BrownPark
September 14th 2011


158 Comments


He's... Kinda boring. Not bad though.



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