Over the course of the past decade, the duo (and sometimes more) of Devics have released four full-length albums, a handfull of EPs, and several limited singles. The core of the group has always been singer Sarah Lov and multi-instrumentalist Dustin O'Halloran, and after making Los Angeles their home for many years, the two moved to Italy for some time after being signed with the UK label Bella Union. After making a name for themselves across the Atlantic with lots of shows in different countries, the duo returned back to California to record Push The Heart, their fifth full album.
I've heard a great deal of work from the group, and my favorite release is the excellent and well-rounded My Beautiful Sinking Ship, which seemed more cohesive and musically solid than their other efforts (their only Italian recorded release, The Stars at Saint Andrea, seemed a bit hit-or-miss to me). While it might feel a bit on the safe side for some fans of the group, Push The Heart is easily the most developed batch of songs from the group, easing through ten assured tracks of soft orchestral pop.
"Lie To Me" opens the album on a solid step as ethereal mellotron and moogs swirl around a guitar and piano driven instrumentation while Lov adds multi-tracked breathy vocals that take the track into appropriately otherworldly territory. "A Secret Message To You" strips things back a bit with found-sound typewriter percussion, accordion, upright bass, cello, and some more tickled ivories from O'Halloran while Lov's vocals get the old-timey tin-can filter treatment (an effective trick they manage to pull off about once per album).
From there, the album settles into a more standard sound, with a string of more lushly-produced tracks, of which any could probably find some radio play in the right places. "Song For A Sleeping Girl" finds O'Halloran doing an admirable job with lead vocal duties over some slick mid-tempo instrumentation while "Distant Radio" seems to channel The Sundays with soaring vocal melodies and chiming guitars. The group veers away from completely safe routes, though, and just about the time you think "If We Cannot See" is going all drippy ballad, the duo builds up a solid crescendo and rains down some gorgeous shimmering guitar textures. With any luck, this album should propel the long-running group into the consciousness of even more listeners.