Writing a review of DeVotchKa’s new EP for a Denver readership is probably the most pointless thing I have ever written. Well, except for that blog I dedicated entirely to the proper trimming of one’s toenails.
Let’s face it, DeVotchKa is probably Denver’s most beloved musical act. I just had the EP sitting on my desk and people who saw it said things like: “Is that the new Devotchka CD? Can you burn me a copy?” or “Shit, I’ve been meaning to buy that!” All this excitement is for Curse Your Little Heart, an EP that they have never heard, but know that it is from DeVotchKa.
Devotchka may be less famous than some other Colorado acts that currently have videos (recorded at the Fox Theater) playing on MTV and VH1, but the fame will fade as will memories of their bland pop songs. However, for a long time DeVotchKa has been working on a completely unique sound that could influence music for years to come.
There are already bands springing up around Denver that are clearly influenced by DeVotchKa, while the rest of the world is being introduced to their sound via a few movie soundtracks. Now that their influence is beginning to spread, it seems like an appropriate time to release an EP of covers of songs, musicians, and singers that influenced them.
Curse Your Little Heart highlights the varied sounds that DeVotchKa coalesces into a unified theme. Singer Nick Durata certainly has crooner tendencies, which are represented in the covers by Frank Sinatra’s “Somethin’ Stupid.” In addition to Eastern European sounds, DeVotchKa draws from mariachi, which is displayed in their rendition of “El Zopilote Mosade.”
The Velvet Underground’s “Venus in Furs” is adapted with a Middle Eastern sound, but it is the cover of Siouxsie and the Banshees’ mournful “The Last Beat of My Heart,” which really stands out from the rest. Durata sings in much the same style as Siouxsie, while the rest of the band employs the orchestral sound of their instruments to the fullest, capturing the emotion of the song. Since they are doing so much soundtrack work these days, someone should put this cover in a movie; one that is worthy of the song’s power and grace.
The title track and the only original work on the album, “Curse Your Little Heart” combines the influences displayed in their choice of songs to cover. The thrumming bass line, the high-pitched violins, and Nick Durata’s woeful voice echoing through an old microphone is DeVotchKa at its core. I know I’m preaching to the choir, but for those of you who need a little extra prodding, just go get the EP.
Ace Fu Records