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The Devlins

I've never really delved much into the Devlin brothers, Colin and Peter, who hail from Ireland and have previously recorded with Daniel Lanois (U2, Bob Dylan). But I've enjoyed their quiet yet anthemic pop songs, which have appeared in HBO's Six Feet Under and director Mike Nichols' recent masterpiece, Closer. And now I'm a full-on fan in the wake of the Devlins' new full-length, Waves, 10 songs that wash over the listener like the warm surf of the Gulf of Mexico.

Engineer Danton Supple, credited with giving British bands like the Doves and Coldplay a majestic sheen, is partly the reason why Waves works. Chiming guitars, smoky vocals and thick-as-a-brick drumming are part of the Devlins' sound, but Supple makes them even heftier, more grandiose. Indeed, fans of the aforementioned artists will instantly take to songs like the soaring "Sunshine," the beautiful downer "Careless Love" and the edgy rave-up "Everything Comes Around." But production is only part of the equation. It's the effortless songcraft that Colin Devlin employs here that really makes this album tick. There are plenty of Zen-like truths conveyed. In "Don't Let It Break Your Heart," for instance: "It's just bruises and scars, they heal." And in "Feel It When You're Gone," there's palpable heartbreak and regret: "It hits me when you leave / When I get but don't receive / 'Cause you're moving out of sight / Down a sad street in your life." Indeed, Waves is full of atmosphere, romance, grief and joy, and it's so well-crafted I'm tempted to say the Devlins are superior to Keane, Snow Patrol and all the other U2 imitations out there. Give this surprisingly powerful disc a spin during a late-night desert drive, and tell me I'm wrong.

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