My favourite thing about having this blog is that I never know what to expect when being given albums to listen to. I’ve had quite a few surprises, discovered some incredible bands and albums but also had some less than good ones. My favourite EP/LPs are the ones that are really like nothing I’ve really ever reviewed before. When I was given Go.Fly.Win‘s new EP Devices Deluxe I was expecting a typical alternative rock album, unsure of how heavy it would be. While it is true that their initial 2013 release Devices was an alternative rock album of high standards – at least from what I’ve heard from it – their 2014 reimagining of the EP (hence the “Deluxe” addition to the title) takes on a much softer and more well thought out approach to their music.
Unfortunately I was unable to provide any song samples for this EP.
Most of the EP is acoustic and completely stripped down. Opening track Colour Collides, which was originally a catchy rock tune, now relies on an acoustic guitar for rhythm with a clean toned electric guitar adding some lead texture, with the sound of a piano and string section coming in half way through for added effect. After a few listens to this version of the song I listened to the original version and couldn’t believe that I was listening to the same song.
The fact that I am less familiar with the original EP only makes me feel better about reviewing Devices Deluxe because I know I won’t be doing much comparing (at least from this point on) from the original EP and review this EP the way Go.Fly.Win would like it to be examined. The next track on the EP is the title track Devices. This song concentrates a little more on the music, where as Colour Collides was a showcase for the skills the band has, particularly from a vocal standpoint, this time around nothing tries to outdo the other blending together to make for an enjoyable listen.
The EP has a love song on it. Well given the softer nature of the EP all of the songs could be interpreted as love songs or ballads, A Heart That Felt Like Home has more heart to it than any of the other four tracks of Devices Deluxe. For a welcome change the song is followed by Horizons which is the first song on the EP to feature a full (albeit stripped down) rock band, complete with drums, the first (and only) time drums are heard on the entire EP. Go.Fly.Win make the most of this change too, with an inspiring output of guitar riffs and vocal melodies that make this a song to remember from the EP.
Devices Deluxe ends the way it begins with O’icarus. What I mean by this is that O’icarus is a completely acoustic song with some added string sounds faintly heard in the background to add to the texture of the song. The sound builds up as the song goes on, with the background strings getting louder and the vocals/backing vocals increasing in volume and intensity. The song makes for a good closer in that it does just what I already said, ends Devices Deluxe the way it began, bringing it full circle.
If I didn’t know there existed an EP of the same songs just heavier, I’d be completely satisfied with Devices Deluxe. As an acoustic EP it stands above other predominantly acoustic albums/bands in that it isn’t a folk album. It doesn’t have that feel, which makes a welcome change to the usage of an acoustic guitar. In comparing it to what I’ve heard from the original Devices EP, I’m more than impressed with how Go.Fly.Win managed to take the songs from that EP and turn them in to the stripped down versions that we hear on Devices Deluxe, which really is no easy task. This type of song writing skill impresses me and makes me look forward to seeing what the future holds for the band.
“A Heart That Felt Like Home” – Since Devices Deluxe is a stripped down album, I can finally pick the love song/ballad as the highlight. While my favourite song is Horizons, unfairly because it is the only song to feature a full band, A Heart That Felt Like Home is what stands out best for me in terms of the stripped down songs. There is a good deal of passion heard throughout by all members and the heart that is put forward hooks me like no other song on the EP.
7 (Out of 10)
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