by Joseph Purcell
Chicago band, Dehd, pricked our ears with 2019’s Water – a furious documentation of the breakup between vocalists, Emily Kempf and Jason Balla. Riotous and dripping with ferocity from the first note, it channelled the pair’s tumultuous parting over thirty-two minutes of uncoupling bliss.
Flower of Devotion opener, Desire, is full of the same swagger and pomp that featured on their last LP, as Balla and Kempf’s bouncing counter melodies perfectly match its sunshine pop tones. And while the bright dash of Loner bustles with uptempo yelps, mid album standout, Letter, is, again, a throwback to the punchy garage sounds of the their last outing.
Yet, it is in the developing nature and change in tone where Flower of Devotion really excels. The bombastic vehemence of the past is still evident, but seemingly more channelled – with changes in tempo and texture giving a more rounded feel. The shoegaze of Month showcases a more subtle side to Balla’s talents, and Drip Drop takes this even further in feeling equal parts Slowdive and My Bloody Valentine. All before the slacker pop of Apart highlights an even more measured serenity.
Flower of Devotion is a step forward for the Chicago trio. This is a band who are still growing, and they have produced one of the summer’s most captivating records.
Secret Meeting score: 78
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