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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Magical Collaboration
Fellow Canadians Devon Sproule and Mike O'Neil have created something
rather special with their collaboration 'Colours' which appears to have
brought out the best in both writer/performers. I'm totally in love with it!

By turns quirky, whimsical and curiously affecting these ten songs slowly
burrow their way into consciousness like the best kind...
Published 9 months ago by The Wolf

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Patchy
Devon Sproule is a great, expressive, imaginative singer and there are lots of transcendent moments on this record - 'The Shallow End', 'Colours', 'The Fire Inside' and especially the standout 'You Can't Help It'. I hadn't ever heard of Mike O'Neill before but his voice is lovely too and the best moments on this are when they are singing together. The arrangements are...
Published 6 months ago by Tiger


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Magical Collaboration, 29 Sep 2013
By 
The Wolf (uk) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Colours (Audio CD)
Fellow Canadians Devon Sproule and Mike O'Neil have created something
rather special with their collaboration 'Colours' which appears to have
brought out the best in both writer/performers. I'm totally in love with it!

By turns quirky, whimsical and curiously affecting these ten songs slowly
burrow their way into consciousness like the best kind of dreams until it
becomes hard not to flip the control back to "Start" each time it's over.

The structure of these compositions is endlessly beguiling and surprising.
Just when you think you know where a number's going it makes a sharp left
turn and leads you off in an unexpected direction with a whole set of new
wonders to consider. In its own way it's a gloriously old fashioned affair.

Opening track 'You Can Come Home' is a cracker, a tad redolent of late 90's
Lix Phair (I'm thinking 'Whitechocolatespaceegg'), a mid-tempo chugger with
with Ms Sproule's sweetly laconic voice swelling out into some truly lovely
harmonies; the gentle rhythmic bounce and silvery guitar licks of 'You Can't
Help It' has the pair singing in tandem as though they were born to do so
and the gorgeous final invention 'The Shallow End', with its fluid upright bass
and warm brass, brings a consummately conceived album to a magical close.

No doubt about it. 'Colours' is headed straight for my 2013 Top Twenty!

Highly Recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The continuing unfolding of Devon Sproule's genius, 19 Oct 2013
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Colours (Audio CD)
Devong Sproule has come a long way since the gentle finger picked wintery tunes of 'Upstate Songs'. 'Colours' is the latest edition of Ms. Sproule's fascinating journey through folk and Americana into a place that is purely her own. Without jettisoning an ounce of her songwriting talent, unique delivery, exceptional lyrics and melodic genius, she has produced (with Mike O'Neill) an LP of absolute perfection and poise. Building on the spacious soundscapes of 'I Love You Go Easy' she has moved herself into a position where she can blend the subtlest of shuffling funk rhythms with melting jazz chords, pop melodies of the highest order.

Anchoring all of this are her lyrics. Sometimes opaque, often dazzling and always original. Few writers lay themselves as bare as Devon without being explicit or overtly referential, she manages to write words that pull you in, often before the tunes do; that takes a special kind of ability.

Every track unfolds slowly, polished and studded with exquisite detail (the sparsely used backing vocals of Robin Dann on 'Talk To You' for example)

Mike O'Neill is an admirable foil, his dry, high tenor voice a perfect compliment to Devon Sproule's silky swooping. Between them they set up converstations and a combatitiveness (The Fire Inside) that prevents any sacharine dueting.

How much better is Sproule going to get? How much fun will it be finding out?

Wow.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magic, 7 Oct 2013
This review is from: Colours (Audio CD)
Devon Sproule captured my heart with the title track of her breakthrough album Keep Your Silver Shined. She's been prolific since, drifting away from her down-home Virginia countrified roots and this collaboration with fellow Canadian Mike O'Neill could be her strongest set since then. Thom Gill's guitar solo on 'You Can Come Home' is worth the price of admission alone, and O'Neill's contribution is understated but key: his songs' timeless melodies and warm voice is a great complement to Dev's sweet strong singing and jazz-tinged guitar. It may take a few plays to grow on you, but grow on you it will: I need to buy the mp3s again because I've worn them out.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Patchy, 25 Jan 2014
By 
This review is from: Colours (Audio CD)
Devon Sproule is a great, expressive, imaginative singer and there are lots of transcendent moments on this record - 'The Shallow End', 'Colours', 'The Fire Inside' and especially the standout 'You Can't Help It'. I hadn't ever heard of Mike O'Neill before but his voice is lovely too and the best moments on this are when they are singing together. The arrangements are careful and delicate, nice bits of brass and percussion - it's a bunch of talented people doing interesting things. On the downside, some of the songs feel a little undercooked - 'Nobody Tells Me A Thing', 'Walking in the Folly', 'You Can't Come Home'. Devon's lyrics also can sometimes irritate with overworked cutesiness, (especially 'The Fan') and sometimes it seems like the band is trying to impress more than entertain - which is fine with me but might limit the number of people who will like it.

There are really great moments on here if the listener is prepared to be a bit selective and Devon's overall approach and love of experimentation is surely going to win a lottery in the future.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Devon Knows How She Makes It Sound So Creamy, 15 Oct 2013
By 
Mr. D. Harvey "royalgonzo" (Cambridge) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Colours (Audio CD)
I've been following Devon Sproule's work since "Upstate Songs" after watching her wonderful performance at The cambridge folk Festival about a decade ago where she played "Plea For A Good Night's Rest" - one of the finest songs I've ever heard. She's one of those few, rare artists (like Andrew Bird and Laura Veirs) who somehow manages to never put out below par material.

Her new record, "Colours", offers subtle changes to her usual template (subtle, elusive examinations of domesticity, simultaneously celebratory and sad) rather than a radical overhaul. This makes the LP no less essential. She's been a prolific collaborator in the past, attracting some very talented musicians into her fold along the way - such as BJ Cole's who's inventive pedal steel work immeasurably enhanced her most fully realised record (in my opinion) to date, "Don't Hurry for Heaven". Her husband Paul Curreri also features extensively on most of her records (his trombone playing is particularly prevalent on this release) so it's hardly surprising she's chosen to work with another songwriter on a joint LP. That being said I would say "Colours" is still very much Ms Sproule's record, her influence dominates the entire collection as a whole.

I must admit I wasn't aware of Mike O Neill's work before this but his contributions and writing, which are somewhat poppier in nature than Devon's, if anything immediately help to make this one of her most accessible works. Their voices and styles merge marvellously. The single, "You Can't Help It" and its accompanying video (where she dances with utter abandon, much like Thom Yorke on the Radiohead promo - Lotus Flower) are the best example of this, a joy pure joy to listen to and watch.

It's obvious she's in transition and also having a lot fun right now. Her musical evolution has been a slow burn affair, untypical of other artists in many ways. She was a fully fledged songwriting genius from the off and she's also been gifted with a uniquely beautiful voice that can swoop and soar through all the registers, and so I presume she's sought (with the creeping in of synths and other textures onto this and her last record) instrumentation, collaboration and stylistic exploration as a means of creating variety and interest - both for herself and her audience. It's all a further indication of an intriguing, broadening of her influences and ambitions.

I can't wait to see where she goes next.
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Colours by Devon Sproule (Audio CD - 2013)
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