As time passes, Quinn Devlin is finding more ways to welcome us to his inner world. This time he’s opened his doors to optimism and four new tunes that will make you want to walk out in the sunset and dance. In a perfect marriage between Bad Company and Van Morrison, Quinn Devlin & the Bridge Street Kings‘ new EP, Sweet Thursday, is part roots, a large dose of classic rock ‘n roll, and a hint of the historic wind ensembles like Chicago. No one song displays this fabulous concoction better than “Three Star Cellophane Cocaine Brain”, a song which we had the fortune of premiering two weeks ago.
The track is like a stream of consciousness. Dark halls, insomnia, and a mysterious woman dominate over the smooth arrangement. It is easy to over-compose when one has 10 instruments at hand, but Devlin and his bandmates demonstrate remarkable restraint. Devlin’s vocals in “Three Star”, meanwhile, are very delicate and emotional, as he tells the tale of a woman who has fallen on hard times.
Devlin’s smooth delivery is further evidenced on the piano-driven “Sweet Thursday”, perhaps the best composition of them all. The melody and harmony are enough to tell the story without the orchestration, proof Quinn knows what he’s doing. That said, the twangy guitar licks, the vibrant keys and piano, and the stirring horn section provide the pop to Quinn’s soul.
“Take Your Time (Stay on Your Feet)” is a subtle ballad about being lost in a world of “false prophets”, and it gives us a different look at Quinn’s growth as an artist. He flirts with the horn sections in the upbeats, propelling the song to a new level of complexity unmatched in the rest of the EP. The piano acts as the perfect anchor behind the layers of production, which are ingeniously spaced through the stereo field.
The last song, “It Ain’t Me”, has become the most popular track on Spotify by the band. A quasi power-rock song, the guitars blast in a powerful riff. His broken vocals are reminiscent of the first blues stars of the 1920s and ’30s. Passionate, driven, almost anxious, we feel the rawness of the low piano playing a pedal which widens the songs.
Compared to their last work, Sweet Thursday proves a maturity that is rarely found in young musicians’ compositions nowadays. The lyrics and topical songwriting orbit around the same themes of love and uncertainty with some interesting variations, especially in “Three Star Cellophane Cocaine Brain”. And if you look for it, you might find Johnny Cash, Dylan and Bernie Taupin influences mixed into the any of the four songs. But, as Devlin knows, music belongs in the moment and his stories are our 21st Century tales, specifically progressive erosion of morality in a society that threatens to implode. With a combination of intelligent songwriting and masterful orchestration, it’s just a matter of time before Quinn Devlin & the Bridge Street Kings take the next level.
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