Devon Williams – Euphoria

Rating: ★★★★☆

Devon Williams has gone seemingly unnoticed, or he’s lived just below the lines of indie success.  Now, however, he seems poised for a breakthrough; Euphoria just might be that perfect blend between bedroom sensitivity and blissful pop.  If not, then perhaps things weren’t meant to be, but you can tell that Williams has perfect control over his craft with his latest release for Slumberland Records.

As if the cover art wasn’t enough, “Revelations” willingly sets the mood, bringing about the central theme of euphoria, musically speaking.  There’s a cleverness to the song’s construction, that’s both playful and, dare I say, pretty. “Your Sympathy” continues along the note, but the guitar sounds definitely will find a home with fans of the bedroom-pop of today.  That guitar will ring throughout the song, but it’s the “ooohs” of Devon Williams, not to mention solid drumming that move it beyond the recordings of your average boy and his four-track.

While “Dreaming” furthers that bedroom pastiche, “Sufferer” takes it even further.  There’s fantastical elements all throughout, with various effects on the guitar crafting the soundtrack one would find in a land such as that on the cover.  It’s bright, yet there are dark hues and hidden patches only close listeners might fine.  For the most part, Euphoria really sticks in this musical vein, not straying too far off.  That is until you get to “Right Direction.”

In this tune, you’ll find an entirely different guitar sound, one that’s much warmer in tones, rather than slightly angular.  It’s sort of the middle ground between Euphoria and his Williams’ last record, Carefree. There’s a more moving pace, but there’s definitely that affectation for sweeping sounds.  It comes at the perfect time, breaking up the possibility of monotony that stems from too many like-minded tracks.  Which is precisely what this track seems to do, as the rest of the album is more of a mix of sounds and styles, making it the more exciting half of the album.

“How Is There Always Room” seems intent upon reliving various soundtrack moments from 80s movies, yet Williams has a different vocal approach, allowing the song to evolve beyond cliche.  “Tired of Mulling” is more of a casual ballad, accompanied by lush string arrangements.  It’s a track that stands out on its own, in so far as it doesn’t sound remarkably like anything here, though it easily fits into the collection.  And as Euphoria draws to a close, everything seems to have fit, falling nicely into the theme defined in the very title of the album.

Devon Williams didn’t always sound like this, but he always possessed the talent and the songwriting to make such huge leaps and bounds. It’s an album that refines the bedroom-pop of today, adding forceful percussion, lush arrangements and, honestly, solid production.  While at times it may blend together too nicely, it’s an excellent effort, making Euphoria worthy of accolades from this writer, and surely many more.


Download: Devon Williams – Your Sympathy [MP3]

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