Album Review: DeVotchKa

By: Anne Vickman

Denver-based DeVotchKa’s fifth studio album, 100 Lovers, comes out next Tuesday, March 1. The band, perhaps most well known for scoring the soundtrack to the film Little Miss Sunshine, has a knack for percussion and string-heavy music evocative of dusky cabarets and the circus arts.

This time around, the quartet has crafted a record that still holds tight to its trademark traveling-band-of-gypsies sound, but has left its signature eastern European soundscape (the band’s name means “girl” in Russian) and theremin-tinted ballads for the warmer climes of Mexican mariachi. Trumpets, bandoneón, violins, violas, and cellos come together to create an ornate, melodramatic work of loveliness.

Most tracks are less boisterous than the tuba-laden albums of yore (namely 2003’s Una Volta), and it’s clear that the group is only getting better at writing songs that pluck at ye olde tender heart strings. “Exhaustible,” a jangly tune that pairs a children’s choir with lead singer Nick Urata’s masterful whistle and otherworldly voice, is a perfect example: “You and I can conquer distance, Space and time and mass resistance, And I really must insist you come with me, my dear.” The title track, “100 Lovers,” is an instantly catchy tale of self-denial: “Oh the things I will believe, ignore the hundred lovers you got hidden up your sleeve.”

A powerful, lyrical delicacy and melodic blending of genres are what set DeVotchka apart from other brassy ensembles like Gogol Bordello. This is where indie rock and old-world cultures meet for a romantic round of PBR and tequila reposado. To which we say: Make ours a double, por favor.