Gypsy-Spanish indie-rockers DeVotchKa have gotten better with each album they produced, ranging from rough-hewn ethnic music to a sweeping, smoother sound.
And the EP "Curse Your Little Heart" is very much in the vein of their last album musically, though the songs are mostly someone else's -- Sinatra, Velvet Underground, Sousxie, with one lone song they made themselves. It's a fun, polished little offering that should keep fans satisfied until their next album.
It opens with the swooning fiddle and peppy tune of "I Cried Like A Silly Boy," which sounds like a song that should be sung under ivy-twined balconies. "You wrote me letters I didn't read/I know I didn't, you know I didn't/still I caressed you, sang you to sleep," Nick Urata croons in his mellow voice, as the fiddle twists around.
Then they merrily ratatat into the sinuous, sensual melody of "Curse Your Little Heart," followed by the dramatic guitar folkpop of "Last Beat of My Heart," which could have been a B-side from their last album "How It Ends." It has the same melancholy, expansive sound. A rather tongue-in-cheek version of "Somethin' Stupid" -- seriously, imagine Sinatra as a gypsy -- followed by the hard, dark, haunted sound of "Venus in Furs," and finishing up with mad mariachi tune "El Zopilote Mojado."
DeVotchKa is one of those bands that you listen to once, and who manage to stick themselves in your brain after that. Their lively mix of traditional Eastern European and Spanish music with the indierock vibe is getting better with time, and this time around they seem to be having fun with some odder choices. (Seriously, Sinatra?)
Urata and Tom Hagerman take the front with lots of trumpet and brassy Sousaphone, powerful guitar and a flexible violin that can twist itself around the other instruments, such as the exquisite, sweeping intro to the third song. And Shawn King plays some really wicked drums on the second song.
And at the heart of it is Urata's soulful voice, which isn't perfect, but that really erupts with power and emotion. He also tries out different vocalizations here: a slightly stuffy nightclub sound, a concerned lover, a more nasal Lou-Reedish sound, and the usual heartfelt wails.
"Curse Your Little Heart" is another winner for DeVotchKa, a colourful little EP that tries out various sounds for size. And most of them even fit, too.