Album Reviews

Album review: DeVotchKa – 100 Lovers (Anti-)

By | Published on Monday 21 March 2011


There’s a peak on top of the pile of polka-influenced gypsy pop, the pile that includes the likes of Gogol Bordello, Jason Webley and Black Ox Orkestar – that peak is, whether you choose to believe it or not, DeVotchKa. Formed in Denver, Colorado in 1997, these guys have been long at it, from their cabaret and burlesque roots to major headlining shows the world over, churning out five albums along the way.

That fifth release. ‘100 Lovers’, is a thing of slow-burning beauty. It starts off in classic DeVotchKa style with the mournful ‘The Alley’, a swell of strings and Eastern European landscapes. ‘100 Other Lovers’, the album’s lead single, is far more delicate and college-radio friendly, but it never quite looses that trademark edge. ‘The Man From San Sebastian’ is the album’s funnest track, reminding me a lot of my personal favourite DeVotchKa track of old, ‘Comrade Z’, jiggy and exciting.

Nick Urata’s voice is absolutely incredible – he holds a note for longer than five deep breaths, and warbles on in a mournful, old soul kind of a way, perfectly complementing the rich instruments around him – guitars, pianos, brass, the theremin, bouzouki, violins, accordions, melodicas, sousaphone, and of course, not to mention percussion. They’re not a glorified wedding band. They’re not sad, sitting in the darkened corner of a film adapted from a Jonathan Safran Foer novel (however they did appear on the trailer for ‘Everything Is Illuminated’). They’re luscious and completely authentic, and, I hasten to add, completely addictive. TW

Physical release: 28 Feb