You remember them. The inspirational tune that accompanies Little Miss Sunshine’s final stretch to the finish. “How it Ends” by Denver four-piece DeVotchKa. Nick Urata’s haunting notes left behind, the full beauty of that wonderfully awakening jam was entirely unrealized. I’ve had the pleasure of indulging my ears with DeVotchKa’s (tasty and fully Nick Urata frosted) album entitled DeVotchKa Live with the Colorado Symphony before they spread their wings at the world-famous Red Rocks this Friday, June 14.
If you’re like me and haven’t been able to take your vacation around the world this summer, look no further. DeVotchKa and the Colorado Symphony’s euphonious synergy is a journey in itself, taking you from the smooth red canyons and flaring orange sunbeams of the West to the jubilant fiestas in the cantinas of Mexico all the way to Arabian nights scattered with horns and shakers to liven things up.
“The Alley” is a prime candidate for yet another movie soundtrack – the accompaniment for a final desperate attempt to regain what is lost. Taunting drums build anticipation as you, the listener, become the omnipotent eye. Join DeVotchKa in wonderment as “The Clockwise Witness” kindly drizzles out of your speakers. A colorful arrangement of subtleties, Urata’s lead completes the full-sound of a song that follows a child into a Willy Wonka-style chamber of delights beyond our wildest dreams. “Along the Way” caresses us into a triumphant march from the dream factory to some place where people smile a lot and eat chips and salsa. Somehow, Urata’s gypsy-like choral blooms a field of poppies and allows us to dance.
A sound that reminds me of Beirut’s full-bodied arrangements, during “The Common Good”, you are royalty nonchalantly arriving to your castle as the violins carry on excitedly. Some Arabian inspiration is evident in this arrangement. “You Love Me” is an emotionally heavy part of the journey donning Western-style guitar patterns and the slightest string accompaniments. Urata plays the Lone Ranger in this ballad. You can almost feel his heavy heart sinking as you float in the phantom abyss of past romance.
The pace is once again brought up with jubilant tracks like “All the Sand in All the Sea” and “Fire Trucks on the Boardwalk.” French accordions rage while the song builds, transporting you to a world where you are coasting along through the streets of Paris on a quaint little bike with a basket. “Undone” slows it down again as we indulge in yet another tragic story. With one of the simplest arrangements on the whole album, this doleful tune doesn’t at all disappoint. The album’s finale leaves you out of breath after a sentiment-filled journey around the world. Nick Urata’s distant and hauntingly sultry voice swirls around you in a blinding white light with “How It Ends” – the bands most prominent claim to fame.
With variations like these, it’s hard to be bored listening to DeVotchKa. Although the remnants of the album are a volatile mixture of gypsy-rock paired with grace and Spanish Conquistadors, the sovereign feelings of Urata and friends are extremely relatable and astoundingly glorifying. While it is quite the string of composition, and I suggest that it is broken up for max appreciation, I didn’t mind the album coming to me in one fell swoop.
Whether you’re out with friends trekking the open road, disheartened by heartbreak, entirely unaware of heartbreak, or discouraged yet inspired and in a massive flurry of confusion – there is at least one song on this album that you can’t live without. Autumn Bea gives this beauty two thumbs up.
Check out DeVotchKa and the Colorado Symphony in Denver this week at Red Rocks! They are going to give a live performance that you won’t want to miss.