Written By: Fletcher Bonin
You don’t know that pop-country exists, and more importantly that it can be very good, until you listen to Mal Devisa. Devisa’s latest album, released digitally on bandcamp, features ten beautifully haunting tracks. Her voice is at times flat, then screechy, then sonorous, ghoulish, the cries of a banshee, and yet there is something insatiable about it all. Like any wine or a craft beer, Mal Devisa is an acquired taste. And once you have acquired the taste, mark my words, her unique sound will get you drunk just like any wine or beer too. Her beats are staccato and dynamic, sometimes fast and other times not there at all, merging with her restless vocals to create an appealing and incongruous sound.
And then you listen to “Everybody Knows,” the release’s third track. In this song, Mal Devisa shows us both her range and control, rising from low altos to high tenors on a dime, creating casual beauty with her refrain “I will make a road out of my heart, everybody knows.” This is pop-country and it is epic.
Devisa continues to enchant on the track “Live Again.” Accompanied only by a strategically plucked acoustic guitar, she sings to us from the deep, “You took me by my arms one day…I cried for him…so you said why do we live again?” Her vocals stretch and soar where she pleases in an almost casual manner, coming across almost improvised and thus all the more pure. She sings directly from her heart, her experiences. She may well be telling us a story in bits and pieces, delivered one magical verse at a time.
The song “FAT” is intense and calls to mind the Beastie Boys with its repeated chants and hammered, scratchy beat and the refrain “what, you mad?” because it seems that Devisa certainly is, at least on this track. And then she launches into the intro to “Sea of Limbs” where she is once again solemn, mellow and controlled, her voice ranging from note to note nearly unaccompanied save for the solo guitar. Her real talent comes in her seemingly innate ability to convey the purity of her emotions into each song without overdoing either side, rather mixing her evident emotionality and musical control to create the solution of poetic tunes. The ten track release ends on the more intense end of the spectrum with the song “Dominatrix” on which she sings “enough apologies I got caught up in my dreams” against a hardcore, Tyler the Creator style beat selection, continuing “I’m a dominatrix when the beat kicks.” Mal Devisa is creating her own genre with Kiid, and we are lucky enough to have a front row seat.
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