There is nothing quite as rewarding as an album arriving at just the right time of year. As Britain puts its shorts on, and 9-5pm workers nationwide complain about stuffy offices, the rest of the country is able to lap up the early-summer heat wave, enjoy the smell of charred meat, and go into battle once more with armies of wasps.
However, summer sun would not feel quite as warm without a big, daft, indie-rock album. Whilst The Vaccines’ debut took up barbeque soundtrack duties in 2011, this year it passes the tongs to a much less recognised act in the form of Devin. And what a blast it is.
Romancing, the debut release from the Brooklyn-based musician practically radiates sunshine, packed to breaking point with catchy choruses and nostalgic guitar-riffs. It does not pretend to be original; in fact, one of the major plus points of this album, and a plethora of other ‘summer’ albums, is the ability to strike that chord of sunshine within: a reminder that the good times are here again, whilst being unique enough to warrant multiple listens.
‘Masochist’, the lead single from the album, throws listeners right into the mix of things, its cheeky vocals and big, brash sound grasping and demanding immediate attention. It’s an absolute blast of a song, and proof that no-frills indie rock can still sound fantastic when executed well. ‘New Horrors’ is similarly infectious, building from Strokes-esque verses to a wonderfully anthemic chorus. It is the sort of song destined to become a staple ‘indie anthem’, if it gets the rightful attention it deserves.
There are some tender moments too, but these don’t particularly work as well as the brash ones, ‘In My Solitude’ in particular coming to mind. But really, the odd misstep can be forgiven when the majority of the content is stuffed with perfectly produced pop sensibilities. Romancing is, quite simply, an album makes it very hard not to smile whilst listening, Devin’s cocksure vocal attitude in tracks like ‘You’re Mine’ delivering on the sole intention of getting the listener moving.
In a musical world of technicalities, time signatures, and ‘post’-everything, it is easy to forget what having fun sounds like, so take Romancing for what it is: a daft, summery album, with an extra-large blob of fun-factor suncream on its skin, and right to its core.