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Album review: DeVotchKa's '100 Lovers'

February 28, 2011 |  5:39 pm

Devotchka DeVotchKa creates music that explodes with the desperate passion of someone standing at the end of a pier, or lost in the middle of a desert. The real beauty of this Denver collective’s polyglot approach is that you don’t know — or, ultimately, care — whether that pier overlooks the Pacific Ocean or the Black Sea, whether the desert is the Mojave, the Sahara or the Gobi.

Guitarist, lead singer and chief songwriter Nick Urata asks, “Are we wasting all our time/chasing dollars, chasing dimes?” in “All the Sand in All the Sea.” He takes that potentially hackneyed question and invests it with urgency and wonder, thanks to a rhythmically throbbing, sonically expansive musical accompaniment and another of his soaring Roy Orbison-esque vocals.

Even as endearing a love song as “Exhaustible” contains a hint of dread, but in the end Urata embraces the idea that a certain connection can endure all. Flamenco guitar and mariachi horns buoy the Sergio Leone-esque fable set out in “Bad Luck Heels” in which a reckless fortune-seeker eventually comes to his senses and discovers the real treasure he’s been overlooking.

This sonically, musically and conceptually expansive album doesn’t need a release date so much as a big-screen premiere.

—Randy Lewis

“100 Lovers”
Three and a ½ stars