Kevin Devine is used to living life in the gray. For the past 14 years, the Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter has oscillated between As and Bs: intimate acoustic moments and bombastic rock songs; deeply introspective lyrics and sociopolitical charges; the storm cloud and its silver lining.
Produced by John Agnello (Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr.) and released via Brand New’s Procrastinate! Music Traitorslabel, Instigator is Devine’s ninth full-length album and comes on the heels of a busy few years. In addition to recording two albums with Bad Books (the indie-rock supergroup he formed with members of Manchester Orchestra), he released the Kickstarter-funded double-album collection Bubblegum and Bulldozerin 2013 along with the wildly ambitious 2015 Devinyl Splits 7” series with the likes of Brand New’s Jesse Lacey, Perfect Pussy‘s Meredith Graves and Nada Surf’s Matthew Caws.
Devine is a master storyteller, and he imbues Instigator – from the biting power-pop of ‘Both Ways’ and ‘No Why’ to the angular, Nirvana-esque ‘Guard Your Gates’ and gorgeously finger-picked ‘No One Says You Have To’ – with intricate details and often-uncomfortable truths. Their meanings are personal, but their themes are universal. It’s a skill that makes both his albums and his live show so alluring. Even when Devine’s writing about the world at large, he’s pointing a mirror back at himself.
Kevin Devine plays The Sunflower Lounge Birmingham on Wed 12th July 2017. Tickets available here.
Listen to ‘Instigator’ below: