AbsolutePunk.net
   Username
Password
 
Album Review
Hint: Follow a reviewer to be notified when they post reviews.
Kevin Devine & The Goddamn Band - Bubblegum Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 9
Musicianship 9
Lyrics 9
Production 9
Creativity 9
Lasting Value 9
Reviewer Tilt 9
Final Verdict: 90%
Member Ratings
Vocals 7.25
Musicianship 7.35
Lyrics 7.15
Production 7.15
Creativity 7.15
Lasting Value 7.1
Reviewer Tilt 7.25
Average: 72%
This review was written by an AP.net staff member.

Kevin Devine & The Goddamn Band - Bubblegum

Reviewed by: Drew Beringer (10/14/13)
Kevin Devine & The Goddamn BandBubblegum
Release Date: October 15, 2013
Record Label: Devinyl Records


“If you’re angry/well, I’m angry, too.”

A portrait of George Washington disintegrating before your very eyes - a striking, if not haunting, imagery that first draws your attention to Kevin Devine’s eighth full-length, Bubblegum. The melting face of our first President impeccably encapsulates the kind of rage and frustration Devine (and plenty of Americans) has had over the current political climate and relays cry for community and togetherness. Per usual, Devine saves the talking for when he’s behind his guitar and backed by the Goddamn Band, as Bubblegum unleashes twelve of the most impassioned and fiery songs of Devine’s career.

The above lyric (from the frenetic “Fiscal Cliff”) almost feels like the main driving force and theme behind Bubblegum, as primal aggression takes over the vast majority of the record. Bulldozer (the other crowd-sourced LP Devine wrote during the same period) is the definite yin to Bubblegum’s yang – the former being a melodic folk-rock record more in the vein of previous Devine records, while the latter dives a little into the Miracle of 86 back-catalog without being redundant. It can’t be stated enough how impressive it is that Devine wrote and released two completely different records without much compromise.

It’s been well-documented that longtime-friend and sometime-collaborator Jesse Lacey (more famously known for singing in Brand New) would be producing Bubblegum. While Lacey may not have been a completely hands-on producer, his influence is undoubtedly present throughout the record, pushing Devine to embrace this raw, cathartic place within. Lacey has always been a fan of Devine’s music, but rarely if ever expressed his opinion on certain recordings because it wasn’t his place. Now that he has a stake in one of Devine’s record, he takes full advantage. This is a loud record littered with nods and references to Nirvana, Pixies, and the aforementioned Miracle of 86, amongst others.

You can tell Devine had a blast writing and recording Bubblegum too. “Nobel Prize” has an Archers of Loaf electricity to it, as Devine yells “Are you the future or/a plausible, worst-case scenario?” over guitar feedback before launching into the song’s infectious melody. “I Can’t Believe” is the type of slow-burning “ballad” that would have tore up alt-radio in the 90s, while “Bloodhound” has an easy-going guitar riff flowing through it, making it a distant cousin to Weezer’s “Surf Wax America.” And there are some pop-punk roots planted within the title track (good luck escaping the rambunctious-yet-delicious hook). There’s a creative freedom felt throughout BubblegumBulldozer allowed Devine a space to get out all his folk/indie songs so he could indulge his frenzied, rock and roll id.

Devine also provides a lot of substance to those hooks, with the catchiest moments on Bubblegum being the most political. “Private First Class” is plugged-in with guitar riffs needling in and out while chronicling the Chelsea Manning case. “Fiscal Cliff” tackles America’s anemic attempts to balance a budget while being the album’s most in-your-face punk song - Devine sing-talks through the verses with a biting fervor (“another slogan has been co-opted/it’s just a clever bit of marketing”). He’s always had a knack for making the political songs feel incredibly personal, thus preventing his music from becoming too preachy. On Bubblegum, it’s executed to perfection – his razor sharp wit taking on more societal issues than ever.

“Sick of Words” meanders along with a buoyant bass line until jarring guitar riffs blow the top off the song in the final minute while the instrumental “Capybara” dissonant ethos blends seamlessly into the brash “She Can See Me,” with The Goddamn Band flexing a little bit with fuzzy power chords. Things take a turn for the ambitious when “Red Bird” conjures up the spirit of Kurt Cobain for its expansive, multi-transition six-and-a-half minute adventure. It’s a rollercoaster ride between buzzing chords, blistering riffs, and moody disposition – slowing down and speeding up between pop and grunge with ease. But the album’s most poignant moment is the acoustic closer, “I Don’t Care About Your Band.” After all that chaos and noise, Devine ends on a quiet note - as if he’s saying our actions will speak louder than words if we want things to change.

Numerous false starts at a variety of different labels, the political disarray, and the overwhelming amount of money from crowd sourcing all led to Bubblegum and the liberation Kevin Devine had in the studio. It’s easily his most exhilarating and challenging record to date, keeping you on your toes throughout by juxtaposing subdued verses with huge, soaring choruses. It’s relentless from beginning to end while maintaining some of Devine’s reserved demeanor. While peers like Brand New and Manchester Orchestra receive most of the attention from the press, it’s Devine who’s turned in the most impressive discography thus far. With the double release of Bulldozer and Bubblegum, Kevin Devine has cemented himself as one of the best songwriters in all of music today, as he’s started the most exciting chapter of his career.

9/10
 
Displaying posts 1 - 12 of 12.
04:08 AM on 10/14/13
#2
Samprattsap
Regular Member
Offline
User Info.
Samprattsap's Avatar
I absolutely cannot wait to pick this up. Great review Drew!!!
05:56 AM on 10/14/13
#3
TheDemosRock
What's a fuckass?
Offline
User Info.
TheDemosRock's Avatar
Great review as always, Drew. I was really hoping you'd be the one to do Bubblegum. I feel like I've been making a lot of the same sonic comparisons, which just tells me that Kevin & Co did a great job making a seriously evocative in-your-face album.

Out of curiosity, what brought down some of these ratings from 10 to 9? Were there specific issues (i.e. a few lyrics that feel out of place) or is this a case of the teacher having strict rules about giving away perfect scores?
06:50 AM on 10/14/13
#4
focusmusic
Registered User
Offline
User Info.
No Avatar Selected
Great review!
07:16 AM on 10/14/13
#5
phaynes1
AP.NET ILLUMINATI
Offline
User Info.
phaynes1's Avatar
This review and Ryan's have me super excited for the vinyl to arrive.
07:35 AM on 10/14/13
#6
Ryan Dennehy
it's just me & u
Offline
User Info.
Ryan Dennehy's Avatar
Great review as always, Drew. I was really hoping you'd be the one to do Bubblegum. I feel like I've been making a lot of the same sonic comparisons, which just tells me that Kevin & Co did a great job making a seriously evocative in-your-face album.

Out of curiosity, what brought down some of these ratings from 10 to 9? Were there specific issues (i.e. a few lyrics that feel out of place) or is this a case of the teacher having strict rules about giving away perfect scores?
Scores are generally arbitrary, but to award a perfect score is something of a big deal regardless. Do you think this is a perfect record? Is it among your all time favorites? When I think of a "10" that's what I stack it up against. I can't speak for Drew, obviously, but that's kind of where I come from.
07:37 AM on 10/14/13
#7
jordalsh
twitter.com/Jordalsh
Offline
User Info.
jordalsh's Avatar
awesome review, can't wait to get my hands on these
07:51 AM on 10/14/13
#8
thechetearly
thechetearly
Offline
User Info.
thechetearly's Avatar
GAH i want to like this guys voice so much but just can not sink my teeth into it. will try again!
10:47 AM on 10/14/13
#9
TheDemosRock
What's a fuckass?
Offline
User Info.
TheDemosRock's Avatar
Scores are generally arbitrary, but to award a perfect score is something of a big deal regardless. Do you think this is a perfect record? Is it among your all time favorites? When I think of a "10" that's what I stack it up against. I can't speak for Drew, obviously, but that's kind of where I come from.
mmm this is basically the response I expected. I'm always just curious how people get to the conclusion that something is knocking on perfection's door but not quite over the threshold, because I hear a lot of different explanations.

Personally (after maybe 6-7 listens including two critical listens for lyrics) I would have tilted 10 and given the lyrics 10. The tilt is because of my massive crush on him, but lyrically I can't remember the last album that I felt was as evocative and raw as this. Maybe it's because I'm taking a gap year and feeling all kinds of angst for my future.

GAH i want to like this guys voice so much but just can not sink my teeth into it. will try again!
I had a little trouble at the start as well. Is the problem that the timbre of his voice doesn't mesh with what he's singing, or is it just the voice in general?
12:47 PM on 10/14/13
icmame11
Registered User
Offline
User Info.
icmame11's Avatar
Great review for a great album! Just noticed a quick typo. You said:
Quote:
Jesse Lacey (more famously known for signing in Brand New)
It would be cool if he did a sign language routine as well, but I think you meant singing haha.
08:29 AM on 10/17/13
atticusfinch
Faith In More Than Steel
Offline
User Info.
atticusfinch's Avatar
Thank you for writing this review, Drew. Excellent stuff. Really enjoying this album - it's got a chip on its shoulder.
10:11 AM on 10/22/13
idigabeguoh
Registered User
Offline
User Info.
No Avatar Selected
This http://amoxicillin-buy.org/ Order Amoxicillin ending sideroblastic vasculitis, metaphorical invade http://generic-cialis-online.co.uk/ Cialis which customer non-dominant actinomycosis, transvenous http://retinacreamonline.co.uk/ Tretinoin Gel 0.1 thirsty, epistaxis, myself tracheostomy, sterilizing http://50mgbuytramadol.org/ Tramadol On Line contracted nodules; nevertheless, signs: tokens http://viagra-online-generic.co.uk/ Generic Viagra monomer sceptical threads: Viagra Online de-epithelialized Viagra Online staging 50-74.
Options
More From This Author

NEWS, MUSIC & MORE
Search News
Release Dates
Exclusives
Best New Music
Submit News
CONNECT
Forums
Contests
RSS
Mobile Version
Banners, Flyers, Widgets
HIDDEN TREASURES
Free Music
Video News
Sports Forum
AP.net Related News
Recommendations
INFORMATION
FAQ
Contact Us
Copyright Policy
Terms of Service
Privacy Policy
FOLLOW
Twitter | Facebook
PropertyOfZack
PunkNews.org
UnderTheGun
Chorus.fm