To put it ever-so bluntly: Kevin Devine’s latest record Put Your Ghost To Rest is one of the best records in this genre that I’ve heard since Elliot Smith’s posthumous From A Basement On A Hill. Kevin Devine bursts onto the major-label landscape with this release, his best record to date, in my opinion; and shows that he most assuredly lives up to Alternative Press’ declaration way back in 2004 that he would eventually be an “artist you need to know.” Devine isn’t only an artist you need to know, but also an artist you need to love.
In most cases, Devine tends to draws slight comparisons to luminaries such as Conor Oberst, and the late Elliot Smith quite often; and I am quite comfortable saying that Devine’s name more than deserves to be etched into your mind alongside the aforementioned two. He’s one of few musical troubadours still staying true to the cause in this fading pop star day and age, and he makes some of the most enjoyable, and compelling music to boot, too.
As with his former albums, highlights abound in this release; it almost seems as if a stellar, heartfelt tune rests around every single, grey-lit corner, here. Devine has that almost-cynical, heartbreakingly poetic songwriting style made so famous by Bright Eyes, but seems to have such a knack for musicality that he’s capable of putting those emotions into enjoyable, immensely excellent songs that don’t ramble nearly as much as you’d expect them to.
Devine even has that cracking, disenchanted twenty-something voice that you can’t help but almost fall in love with as you hear his crooning with poignancy. The way he writes a song can’t help but bring you back to those old memories of listening to Either/Or. Devine almost seems like a bastard love child between Josh Rouse, Elliot Smith, and Conor Oberst—yet coming completely into his own all the time, and evolving into something almost better than the sum of it’s parts.
All it takes is to listen to Put Your Ghost To Rest’s opening track “Brooklyn Boy,” and I guarantee you’ll be hooked. And once you pass it, things never seem to let up. To name just a few, “Just Stay” is positively stellar, and the up-beat “Go Haunt Someone Else” is almost worth the admission price, alone.
This is one of the better albums to be released this year, and with a major label behind him, here’s hoping that this release will garner the attention that it most assuredly deserves.