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Devon McClive and Sons - Humankind

  by Benjamin Howarth

published: 3 / 8 / 2011



Devon McClive and Sons - Humankind
Label: Devon McClive
Format: CD

intro

Forceful debut album from San Francisco-based singer-songwriter Devon McClive, who sings like the missing link between Regina Spektor and Aimee Mann, and her band the Sons


After a well received EP last year, Devon McClive has called in her ‘Sons’ and worked up a full band debut. They first started playing together in 2009, when McClive moved back to San Francisco and assembled some of her old friends from the area into a band. Her solo EP got promising reviews, but seems to have just been a toe dipped into the water, as on ‘Humankind’ Devon McClive has latched onto something rather well. The first thing to say is that the instrumentation instantly marks this band out as being different from the standard fare. McClive herself plays cello and piano, and she is backed by Michael Tornatore on drums, Steven Hall on viola, Aaron Priskorn on trumpet and Dave Davis on guitar. She sings like the missing link between Regina Spektor and Aimee Mann. With McClive’s vocals holding the songs together, the band shuffle between creaky blues, pre-war jazz, showtunes and folk – even finding room for hints of ska and western soundtracks. (It sounds as if Tom Waits is a big influence, which is of course no bad thing). The Sons are never short of a nifty instrumental break, and one of the best things about listening to this album is realising that they clearly love playing together. Just listen to the raucous trumpets, dextrous drumming and unexpected changes of pace on ‘Our Time’ for proof. 'Sweet Surrender' returns her to the piano-only style of her first release, proving that her songs would still sound good without the band. But, when the ragtime drums and the viola return on 'Opportune', you quickly think that the songs are complemented really well by their backing. Over a number of changes of tempo, the band use this song to show everything they are capable of – while McClive offers up another excellent husky vocal. ‘Humankind’ is a real grower... I started off impressed, but it only took a few listens before I was completely hooked. This ranks as one of my favourite discoveries of the year so far. You’re but a few Amazon clicks away from it being one of yours as well...



Track Listing:-
1 Humankind
2 Toxic Water
3 They Know Who You Are
4 Broken Old Things
5 Hotter
6 Temporary Peace Of Mind
7 Our Time
8 Cash Crop
9 Sweet Surrender



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